5 Must-Run Marathons Around the World
Building a holiday around a marathon won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly a unique way to see the world. You get to explore – on foot – hidden streets you may not have come across otherwise. You’ll meet new people who you instantly have something in common with, plus you’ll be able to recover in style, and possibly by the ocean (read on!). So grab your foam roller as we count down 5 must-run marathons around the world.
1. Do it for the Scenery - The Patagonian International Marathon
If you think Ireland has a changeable landscape, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The Patagonian International Marathon takes place in the restless landscape of the majestic Torres del Paine National Park. This is a truly wild experience. You’ll run past expansive glaciers and mountains towering some 2,500 meters above the route. If you don’t fancy a full marathon, there are alternative 21k and 10k options too. Plus, you can run through this terrain knowing you’re helping to protect it, since part of your entry fee goes towards local conservation efforts.
2. Do it for the Atmosphere – The New York City Marathon
If you can make it to the finish line here, you can make it anywhere! The New York City Marathon is the biggest in the US, and has been attracting athletes since the ’70s. This is your chance to see the most famous city in the world in a whole new way. You’ll run through the five boroughs cheered on by more than two million spectators and lots of street entertainment. The race is huge, boasting 50,000 other competitors, which means the atmosphere is truly electric. And of course, running past the Big Apple’s iconic skyscrapers and landmarks makes the experience particularly unforgettable.
3. Do it for the Glory – The Boston Marathon
Just qualifying for this marathon earns you serious bragging rights. The Boston Marathon is one of the oldest and prestigious in the world, attracting athletes since its inception in 1897 when it was inspired by the first marathon in the Summer Olympics. Since then, it’s grown to become one of the most famous in the world with approximately 30,000 participants taking on the historic route each year.
4. Do it for the Serious Challenge – The Great Wall Marathon
Walking the Great Wall of China features on lots of bucket lists, but running it? That takes the challenge to a whole new level. The Great Wall Marathon is one of the most gruelling in the world. You’ll run (or climb on your hands and knees) over 5,000 steps on the historic wall itself. After that, the route takes you through pretty Chinese villages where cheering locals will give you a much-needed energy boost. You’ll be extra sore after this one, but what a way to experience one of the most famous structures in the world.
5. Do it for the Beach - Marathon International de Moorea in Moorea, French Polynesia
Okay, so it doesn’t get New York’s 50,000 competitors, but the Marathon International de Moorea on the Island of Moorea, French Polynesia does give you the opportunity to run in paradise. And let’s be honest, your family are much more likely to want to come and cheer you on in this idyllic location. The event has taken place since 1988 and attracts about 1,500 participants every year. And of course, what better way to recoup after a gruelling marathon than a dip in crystal clear waters? Then you can spend the rest of your holidays swinging in a hammock.
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