I live in the hills. Here in Southern California, or at least where I live, there really is no way to avoid them. I’m not always a fan. Don’t get me wrong, there is a real benefit to hill training and I regularly incorporate hill repeats into my training schedule but having to run them every single day can get old. On occasion, I will drive to a location with flat terrain, but for the most part, because of practicality and time constraints, I work with what I have directly out my front door. What comes up must go down, but in my neighborhood, it feels like a lot more ups than downs! The fact is, my body is very well adapted to switching gears when it needs to and this probably works to my benefit in the long run. When I look for bucket list marathons, I generally avoid the super flat courses. I actually prefer using a variety of muscle groups and the only way to achieve that during a race is a variation in elevation. I know this isn’t true for every runner, but for many runners the change is welcome. With all that said, I don’t mind a hilly course but my personal favorite is a gentle rolling downhill. These are not for everyone. They can be tough on your quads and they can be challenging to pace correctly, but if you do your homework and prepare the correct way, you can really enjoy these courses and they can REWARD you with a new Personal Record and possibly even a Boston Qualification. I’ve put together a list of some of the fastest downhill marathons in the US, that have the highest percentage of Boston Qualifiers. The only one one this list I’ve run is Mountains to Beach, so I can’t tell you about how well some of the others are organized, or details about the course, but I’m going to start checking my list off because I’m running the Utah Valley Marathon on June 10, 2017. Start with the best, finish with the rest!