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(Reuters) - The popularity of marathons worldwide has soared in recent years. In the United States, marathon participation rose 37 percent between 2000 and 2008, according to industry website marathonguide.com.
Below are the largest marathons in the world in 2007:
THE LARGEST MARATHONS IN 2007 (by number of finishers)
DATE RACE FINISHERS Nov 4 ING New York City Marathon 38,607* April 22 Flora London Marathon 35,667 Sept 30 Berlin Marathon 32,530 April 15 Marathon de Paris 26,880 Oct 7 Bank of America Chicago Marathon 28,815 ** Dec 9 Honolulu Marathon 20,692 Oct 28 Marine Corp Marathon (Washington) 20,679 April 16 Boston Marathon 20,338 Feb 18 Tokyo Marathon 20,000 (est) March 4 Los Angeles Marathon 20,016 April 29 Marathon Hamburg 16,482 June 3 Rock n Roll Marathon (San Diego) 15,958 June 8 Stockholm Marathon 12,370 Marh 18 Maratona di Roma (Rome) 12,027 Jan 7 Walt Disney World Marathon (Orlando) 11,058 Nov 25 Tsukuba Marathon 10,169
* the 2007 New York City Marathon was the largest marathon ever held
** in both 2005 and 2006, Chicago's marathon landed in the top three biggest marathons, but in 2007, runners contended with record heat of 88 degrees (31 Celsius), forcing organizers to stop the race after three and a half hours, with thousands unable to finish.
Source: Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, race organizers.
Compiled by Phil Wahba in New York and Ben Klayman in Chicago