Best Marathon Watch 2023

Someone in a blue jacket adjusting his black Garmin watch with a map on the display.
Credit: Garmin

Someone in a blue jacket adjusting his black Garmin watch with a map on the display.
Credit: Garmin

Marathons demand exceptional endurance, unwavering determination, and precise monitoring of vital performance metrics. To excel in the world of long-distance running, you need a trustworthy companion that goes beyond mere timekeeping. Enter the best marathon watch, which, if you choose the right one, can take your running to the next level.

However, with so many amazing fitness trackers and watches on the market these days, finding the right device that suits your long-distance needs isn't easy. Fortunately, our list of top picks, based on features, price, and reviews, is here to help.

We've scoured the web to put together a selection of the best running watches for long-distance racing as they can all provide accurate data and crucial insights to optimise your training and race-day performance. How do they do this? Well, all the watches we've selected, from the premium Garmin MARQ Athlete to the budget-friendly COROS PACE 2, feature built-in GPS technology as well as dedicated modes to track running specifically.

So, when it comes to crushing your personal records, navigating challenging terrains, and elevating your running experience to new heights, our list of watches is the ideal place to start. Let's get into our top picks...

Best marathon watch

  1. Garmin Enduro 2
  3. Garmin MARQ Athlete (Gen 2)
  4. Fitbit Charge 6
  5. Apple Watch Ultra
Garmin Enduro 2 product image black smartwatch featuring a black fabric band.
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Credit: Garmin

1. Garmin Enduro 2

Best overall marathon watch

Size: 51 x 51 x 15.6 mm - Battery Life: up to 550 days with solar (battery saver) - Water Resistance: 100m - Memory: 32 GB - Weight: 70g - Screen: MIP - GPS: Yes - Sleep Tracking: Yes - Mobile Payments: Garmin Pay

We're starting off with one of the best Garmin watches on the market - the Garmin Enduro 2. With a name like "Enduro", there's one key area this watch is designed to perform in... its battery life.

Thanks to its solar charging lens, this watch could last up to 550 days when in battery saver mode. Okay, you may not use this mode all the time, but almost two years of charge is something that we just have to mention. Let's say you're using it in GPS mode though, you still get 150 hours of charge with solar, which is great as you'll know it's going to last an entire marathon multiple times over.

In terms of tracking, it's equipped with TopoActive maps, NextFork map guides to provide a detailed map of your route on your wrist, and SatIQ technology to ensure you have precise positional accuracy and detailed route information while you run.

On top of all this, it features built-in sports modes, including "Ultra Run" for long-distance events. In said mode, it can measure your cadence, stride length, and ground contact time, plus it provides a metric that tells you your "running power". Realistically, that's only scratching the surface of what this impressive device can provide. Truly an exceptional smartwatch for marathon training and racing.

Read More: Best marathon shoes

COROS PACE 2 product image of a light blue and grey smartwatch featuring the time in white on the display.
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Credit: COROS


Best budget marathon watch

Size: 42 x 42 x 11.7 mm - Battery Life: up to 20 days - Water Resistance: 50m - Memory: approximately 200 hours of outdoor workouts - Weight: 35-36g (silicone) / 29-30g (nylon) - Screen: Always-on LCD - GPS: Yes - Sleep Tracking: Yes - Mobile Payments: No

If you're after something a little less expensive though, then the COROS PACE 2 could be the smartwatch for you. It's designed to turn your data into valuable metrics to help improve your performance, making it an excellent running companion during a marathon.

COROS boasts that this particular device is one of the lightest on the market, weighing just 29-30g with its nylon strap. This is to ensure that, even though it packs some heavyweight features, you won't feel weighed down with it on your wrist.

The watch also features what's known as Track Mode, which utilises a proprietary algorithm to ensure accurate measurement of your running sessions and workouts, catering specifically to athletes.

Furthermore, the always-on backlit display proves to be beneficial when you need to quickly glance at your stats during a run. Then, for evening use, the watch offers a Night Mode that dims the screen for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. Plenty to like then, although if you still have doubts, perhaps the endorsement of Eliud Kipchoge, renowned for his sub-two-hour marathon, will sway your opinion.

Read More: Best running watches under 100

Garmin MARQ Athlete (Gen 2) product image of a black and silver metal smartwatch highlighting the running mode on the display.
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Credit: Garmin

3. Garmin MARQ Athlete (Gen 2)

Best premium marathon watch

Size: 46 x 15 mm - Battery Life: up to 21 days (battery saver) - Water Resistance: 100m - Memory: 32 GB - Weight: 85g - Screen: AMOLED - GPS: Yes - Sleep Tracking: Yes - Mobile Payments: Garmin Pay

Moving back to Garmin, but this time to the Garmin MARQ Athlete (Gen 2). This is a premium smartwatch designed for both everyday wear as well as athletes, as its name suggests.

It's smart, elegant, plus incredibly durable with its grade-5 titanium exterior and domed sapphire lens providing a crystal clear view of its full-colour AMOLED display. On this, you can view metrics like your pace, distance, time, running power, and real-time stamina data to track and manage your exertion.

Furthermore, it comes with what's known as PacePro, which is designed to keep you on pace with grade-adjusted guidance as you run to ensure your hitting your targets. It also provides a ton of data on your recovery time, heart rate variability, as well as performance stats like your running dynamics and VO2 max.

Its visual race predictor should also come in handy if you're struggling to figure out what pace you need to hit. It takes data based on previous runs to determine how fast you need to be going to hit your target. Again, there's so much more this watch has to offer, so make sure you check it out if you're after a high-end smartwatch for your marathons.

Read More: Best running shoes

Fitbit Charge 6 product image of a black fitness band with the time in green and white on the display as well as heart rate.
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Credit: Fitbit

4. Fitbit Charge 6

Best fitness tracker for a marathon

Size: 36.7 x 23.1 x 11.2 mm - Battery Life: up to 7 days - Water Resistance: 50m - Memory: stores data for 7 days - Weight: 37.64g - Screen: AMOLED - GPS: Yes - Sleep Tracking: Yes - Mobile Payments: Fitbit Pay

The Fitbit Charge 6 stands out as one of Fitbit's best fitness trackers to date, establishing itself as a top-tier wearable device in the market. Its impressive features include an ECG heart rate monitor and a vibrant always-on colour touchscreen, ensuring readability even under bright sunlight.

One of its standout functionalities is the 'Daily Readiness Score', a unique metric that factors in variables like your fatigue level, heart rate variability, and recent sleep patterns to provide valuable insights into your readiness for a training session. Additionally, the built-in GPS enables you to effortlessly track your marathon route directly from the device.

What truly sets the Charge 6 apart though is its seamless integration with Google. It now boasts enhanced capabilities, such as YouTube music controls, turn-by-turn navigation using Google Maps, and support for Google Wallet – all substantial upgrades from its predecessor, the Charge 5. Furthermore, there's an extensive selection of over 40 exercise modes to choose from, including running, catering to a wide range of training needs.

So, for marathon training and racing, the Charge 6 is more than up to the task. Its band-like form factor and compact size ensure that you won't be distracted or burdened during your workouts or outdoor endeavors, making it a well-rounded and highly practical choice for endurance competition.

Read More: Best running headphones

Apple Watch Ultra product image of the Starlight-coloured watch and strap face-on showing an orange compass along with the time on the display.
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Credit: Apple

5. Apple Watch Ultra

Best marathon watch for everyday wear

Size: 49 x 44 x 14.4 mm - Battery Life: up to 60 hours - Water Resistance: 100m - Memory: 32 GB - Weight: 61.3g - Screen: Retina - GPS: Yes - Sleep Tracking: Yes - Mobile Payments: Apple Pay

Our last entry, the Apple Watch Ultra, is a bit of an all-rounder when it comes to wearable tech. It's easily one of the best watches under 1500 on the market today as it's packed to the brim with features.

In terms of outdoor running metrics, the Ultra provides information on your heart rate, rolling miles, average page, and distance alongside more advanced stats in relation to your running cadence, stride length, ground contact time, vertical oscillation (amount your torso moves vertically with each step). All this information can help you keep track of your performance as well as pick out areas where you can improve (less torso movement perhaps).

The device can even provide you with your "power profile", giving you information on your power output over the last 30 minutes, current power, and average power as you run.

Then, when it comes to the features for everyday use, it comes with an always-on Retina display that's clear and easy to read, cellular connectivity, built-in microphones to make calls, and can be used for contactless payments with Apple Pay. It really is at the top of the smartwatch food chain, making it a great everyday option to consider while running a marathon.

Read More: Best running headphones under 100

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Don't worry if you've thought of any questions along the way. We've answered some of the most commonly asked queries below to help you out.

What are the key features to look for in a marathon watch?

When buying a marathon watch, there are several key features to look out for. Perhaps the most important of which is a built-in GPS as this allows you to track your distance, pace, and route accurately. It is particularly useful for outdoor running, where you're most likely to run a marathon, and helps you monitor your performance.

You should also look for a device with a long battery life. You'll need something that's going to last for hours when tracking your 26.2-mile run (and that's not even factoring in ultramarathons). As touched on in our list, a watch with a solar charging screen can definitely be helpful here to ensure your device doesn't die mid-race.

You'll probably also want to go for something that's water-resistant. Since running can involve sweat and exposure to the elements, a water-resistant watch is essential. It doesn't have to be fully waterproof, but a 5 ATM rating or above should do the trick.

On top of this, you'll want something that's durable in order to withstand impact, shock, and vibrations, something with an easy-to-read display so you can track your timings and performance quickly while on the move, and something that's comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Any features beyond this, like built-in marathon-tracking modes and Bluetooth connectivity, are more of a personal preference thing. By looking out for these core features, you should end up with a device that's suitable for marathon training and racing.

Can a marathon watch be used for everyday use?

Yes, a marathon watch can be used for everyday use. While marathon watches are designed to meet the needs of runners specifically, they can also serve as practical and functional timepieces for daily wear as well as other activities like cycling, hiking, and so on. Many marathon watches are designed to be versatile and stylish, and they often come with several key health-tracking features that can be used to track your day-to-day fitness.

The key is to choose a marathon watch that aligns with your personal style preferences and can seamlessly transition from workouts to everyday activities. Consider factors such as the watch's design, size, and strap material to ensure it suits your taste and complements your wardrobe.

In addition to timekeeping, marathon watches often include features like alarms, date displays, and stopwatch functions, which can be useful in everyday life. Some models also offer smartwatch capabilities, allowing you to receive notifications, control music, or even make payments.

Ultimately, the decision to use a marathon watch for everyday wear depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle. If you value a watch that can handle both your fitness pursuits and daily activities, a marathon watch can be a practical choice.

Are marathon watches suitable for indoor running or treadmill workouts?

Yes, they are, but it's important to recognise that many marathon or running watches are designed with outdoor activities in mind. However, some of the key features found in marathon watches can still be beneficial for indoor running or treadmill workouts, depending on your specific needs and preferences.

While built-in GPS functionality may not be as crucial for indoor running, other features like the heart rate monitor and tracking your calories burned can come in handy.

Additionally, some marathon watches offer built-in workout modes specifically tailored for indoor running or treadmill workouts. These modes can provide valuable metrics such as pace and distance, despite running indoors, helping you monitor your progress towards your fitness goals.

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