By Kristen Mitchell for the Orbitz Travel Blog
With the new year well behind us, it's time to make good on those resolutions. Instead of that vague goal of getting in shape or being healthy, try a firm resolution that you can hold yourself to: completing in a marathon. To add a little more incentive, sign up for a great destination marathon taking place in a totally vacation-worthy setting that you'd always wanted to visit anyway.
Elliot Bay, Seattle
Rock 'N' Roll Seattle - Seattle, Washington
A member of the Rock 'N' Roll marathon series, this Seattle race is a big hit for many runners. Scheduled for June 18, 2016, this is one of the earlier big races of the year and is outside the typical May and October/November race schedule. Being in June, it's the perfect time to plan a few days to get away for a vacation.
Can't miss sight: Pike Place Market is one of the oldest farmer's markets in the U.S. and one overlooks the Elliott Bay waterfront.
Post race meal: While you're at the market, head over to Pike Place Chowder. Nothing beats the post race blues like a cup of hot soup.
Southernmost Point Buoy, Key West
Southernmost Marathon - Key West, Florida
This sunny race isn't until October 8, 2016, so you'll have plenty of time to train. Like the name implies, this is the furthest south you can get in the continental U.S., and the course takes runners right by the landmark that says so. The Key West heat might be more intense compared to what some participants will train in, but you can be sure a cold snap won't jeopardize your race day.
Can't miss sight: Make sure either before or after the race, you stop for a photo at the southernmost landmark. Only 90 miles from Cuba and the race's namesake, you won't want to leave without this souvenir.
Post race meal: Check out Eaton Street Seafood Market for a delicious lobster roll and a beer. The protein and the carbs will help with your recovery, and the tasty local fare is good for your soul.
The Bean at Millennium Park, Chicago
Bank of America Chicago Marathon - Chicago, Illinois
The Chicago Marathon takes runners through the city's diverse neighborhoods and offers amazing views of the skyline. While this is a race many runners have to qualify for, there is a lottery where first timers and non-elites can throw their name in the hat. If you are aiming for Chicago's race, set for October 9, 2016, make sure you keep tabs on when you can register and when the lottery is. For the 2015 race only about 50 percent of those who entered the lottery got in, so just make sure you have a backup plan.
Can't miss sight: The race starts and ends near Millennium Park, so you'll definitely get the chance to see that. One thing you might not see unless you go out of your way is the Navy Pier right on Lake Michigan.
Post race meal: If you've been eating healthy leading up to the race, the best place to reward yourself is Portillo's. This Illinois favorite has all the foods you've been drooling over like hot dogs, burgers and most importantly, milkshakes.