Our lives are like running marathons. We run to reach work on time or to catch a train. But do we ever run for the sake of running? Marathons in India, half marathons, ultra-marathons are popping up all over the world and more and more people are taking part. There are plenty of reasons to run a marathon: To get fit, to support a good cause, to accomplish a goal, fulfil your bucket list, or to simply have fun.

For a long time, the health conscious in India focused on walking, yoga, gym etc. Lately, running for marathons has witnessed a huge boom in popularity due to the recent fitness zeitgeist which has taken over social media and much of popular culture. Every city is hosting an event named after it and runner enthusiasts are mushrooming. For many it is not just a physical activity but also an emotional connection with the city.

We have marathons in India almost everywhere. But which ones of these are the best? Here is our attempt at putting the best list together.

1. Tata Mumbai Marathon, Mumbai (TMM)

The Tata Mumbai Marathon (previously known as Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon) is an annual international marathon held in Mumbai, India, on the third Sunday of January every year. It is the largest marathon in Asia as well as the largest mass participation sporting event on the continent. Over 40,000 runners from across the world fill the streets of Mumbai participating in various running categories – Dream Run (6 kms), 10K (10 kms), Half Marathon (21 kms), Full Marathon (42 kms), Senior Citizens’ Run (4 kms) and Champions with Disability (2 kms). The TMM is not only a platform to test an individual’s athletic excellence but also a unique fundraising platform for participating charities. It is amongst the top ten marathons in the world. Since its inception, the event has raised more than INR 229.93 crores, benefitting over 550 charities, with the funds being used for causes ranging from arts, culture & sports to education, environment, health, human rights and others.

Tata Mumbai Marathon
Tata Mumbai Marathon

2. Kaveri Trail Marathon, Karnataka (KTM)

Imagine running adjacent to a canal full of flowing water and resting your eyes on lush fields enroute. The Kaveri Trail Marathon (KTM) starts near the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and follows the river Cauvery’s course. The best part about this trail is that you can spot otters and over 150 species of birds at the sanctuary, including the common spoonbill and the painted stork. KTM was started in 2007 and is India’s first trail marathon. The event comprises of a Full Marathon, Half Marathon and a 10 km trail run. Organized by Runners for Life*, the marathon course is known for its scenic beauty, physical challenges and excellent support crew.

*Runners for Life is an organization dedicated to increasing the population of runners in the country.

Kaveri Trail Marathon
Instagram User: @_viju
Kaveri Trail Marathon, Karnataka

3. Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, New Delhi (ADHM)

Established in 2005, Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is the world’s most prestigious marathon held in the capital city of India. The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM), usually held in November, remains a favourite among runners. It starts at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, continues towards Safdarjung’s Tomb, past India Gate and Parliament House and back. There are four categories—the Half Marathon, the Great Delhi Run (6 km), the Senior Citizens’ Run (4 km) and the Champions with Disability category (4 km). The pleasant weather at that time and lack of uphill’s make the event preferable for personal bests.

Airtel Delhi Half Marathon
Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, New Delhi

4. Goa River Marathon, Vasco Da Gama, Goa (GRM)

Who wouldn’t want to run a marathon in Goa? Goa River Marathon (GRM) is a 42-Kilometer run in paradise with a route that runs along the pristine blue waters of the Zuari River. The route starts at Chicalim SAG Cricket Ground, past St. Jacinto Island, with a U-turn near Cortalim Junction where runners double back to the starting point to complete the full marathon. You can choose from the Full Marathon, Half Marathon, the 10 km run or the 4 km fun run. The beautiful river view, tree-shaded route and super smooth roads make this one of the top marathons in India. Pick from an exclusive range of Goa tour packages for a lovey Goa holiday with attractive discounts.

Goa River Marathon
Goa River Marathon, Vasco Da Gama, Goa

5. Auroville Marathon, Puducherry

The Auroville Marathon is an annual marathon event that courses through the city of Dawn Auroville in Tamil Nadu state of India. Originally started to celebrate 40 years of Auroville; a township 8 km north of Puducherry (Pondicherry), the enthusiastic participation attracted many runners from other cities and it was decided to make it an annual affair purely for the joy of running. It is a non-competitive race where participants are encouraged to focus on running as a spiritual exercise. Categories include Full Marathon, Half Marathon, and a 10 km race.

Auroville Marathon
Auroville Marathon, Puducherry

6. Pinkathon (8 cities in India)

Pinkathon organizes marathons in India specifically for women. The objective of the event is to encourage women’s health and fitness. Pinkathon also aims to raise awareness about breast cancer, its causes and prevention. Held in across eight cities — including Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Mumbai, and Hyderabad — Pinkathon has over 10,000 women participating in each city. This event offers the running distances of 3 Kms, 5 Kms & 10 Kms giving each runner an opportunity to run in their comfort zone. Though mainly an awareness raising campaign, it contributes a minimum of Rs 5 lakh per event to the Women Cancer Initiative (WCI), an NGO in partnership with Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai that funds treatment of breast and cervical cancer in women from lower socio-economic strata.

Actor Milind Soman running along with participating women at
Pinkathon, Kolkata

7. Vasai Virar Mayor’s Marathon, Mumbai (VMM)

VMM is the only national-level running event in the country which is organized by a Municipal Corporation. Since its inception in 2011, the event has attracted the country’s leading professional long-distance runners and now is also witnessing an increase in the number of amateur participants. Participants from all over Vasai Taluka and other parts of the country take part in this marathon. Categories include Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 11 km run. The Full Marathon starts from Viva College (Virar west) whereas the Half Marathon starts from outside the Vasai Tahsildar Office, Opp.
Court of Vasai , Vasai Village, both finishing at Viva College.

Vasai Virar Mayor's Marathon
Vasai Virar Mayor’s Marathon, Mumbai

8. Airtel Hyderabad Marathon, Hyderabad (AHM)

Airtel Hyderabad Marathon powered by Hyderabad Runners, is recognized as the second biggest marathon in India after Mumbai Marathon, and one of the best-organized city runs in the world. Hyderabad Runners Society (HR) is a non-profit organization which was founded in 2007 to encourage running among all age groups in the cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the toughest marathons in India as the route consists of multiple flyovers and steep terrain. The famed rolling hills of Hyderabad make it the most challenging race to complete. The event attracts thousands of people from all walks of life promoting the spirit of fitness in the city.  The AHM offers a 41 km Full marathon, 21.1 Km Half marathon, 10 Km and 5 Km fun run.

Airtel Hyderabad Marathon
Airtel Hyderabad Marathon, Hyderabad

9. Ladakh Marathon, Ladakh

The Ladakh Marathon is the highest and amongst the toughest marathons. Unlike other marathons in India, the Ladakh Marathon requires you to arrive in Leh at least a week in advance to acclimatize for the race day. You are running at 3500m above sea level, so it is imperative that you get acclimatized to the high altitude. The race has four categories—Run Ladakh for Fun (7 km), Half Marathon, Full Marathon, and the world’s highest Ultra-Marathon – Khardung-la Challenge (71.12 km). These various races take place in and around Leh, the historic capital of Ladakh and offer runners the unique opportunity to run with local Ladakhis through the most beautiful landscape offering stunning vistas of mountains, rivers and valleys and will leave you with lifelong memories and a chance to say that you ran the Ladakh Marathon.

Pacify your adreline rush in Ladakh featuring some of the most adventurous terrains in the world. Choose from a wide range of our Ladakh tour packages.

Ladakh Marathon
Instagram User: @leh.ladakh
Ladakh Marathon, Ladakh

10. Run the Rann, Gujarat

Started in 2015, the Rann is easily India’s most unique and challenging foot race that serves a carefully mixed combination of off-trail trekking and bushwhacking. The trail located in the historic city of Dholavira in Khadir Bat provides runners with spectacular views of the scenic island of Kutch. There are two Ultra categories in this run; 161 km, 101 km and one 51 km. This race is for the endured and fully baked runners.  Running on the white desert is nothing short of an adventure and the runners often get a chance to spot wildlife during the race. Explore our Rann of Kutch packages for a complete funfilled holiday experience.

RUn the Rann
Run the Rann, Gujarat

11. Satara Hill Marathon, Maharashtra

The Satara Hill Marathon is an annual run that is held in the city of Satara, Maharashtra. This race has become famous in the neighboring cities, because it is well organized and beautiful (takes you past waterfalls and low cloud) but tough. The Marathon even holds a Guinness World Record title in their 2015 edition for “Most people in a mountain run – single mountain”. The race takes you from the centre of Satara towards the Kaas Plateau – a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its profusion of wild flowers. The event includes Half Marathon, 10K and 5K. Satara Marathon Association is a non-profit organization which aims to encourage running among all age groups in and around Satara. Every finisher gets a Finishers Medal and a Physical certificate with the finishing timing.

Satara Hill Marathon
Satara Hill Marathon, Maharashtra

Also Read: Top 10 Destination Marathons Worth Travelling For!

Running Groups/Clubs in India

Running groups are winning over more and more followers in India. There are a number of running groups across India which cater to different levels of fitness, stamina and need. While running alone can be a good form of meditation, running in groups is a great way to become part of a real social community. Whether you’re looking for a group to train with, a team to inspire you, or a just a community of active people, these running groups help you jump start your fitness goals.
Consider joining one of these running groups in India to get your weekly dose of endorphins.

Mumbai Road Runners: Mumbai Road Runners (MRR) was founded in 2016 as a means to promote running in Mumbai. From group runs, events like relay races, half marathons, 10k races, 5k races, bootcamps, yoga sessions, non-running cross training to fun activities like football, volleyball, handball, rock climbing, trekking etc, MRR has a pace and place for all.

Website:   http://mumbairoadrunners.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mumbairunners
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mumbairunners

Bombay Running: Bombay Running has members of all ages and athletic skill levels who share the enjoyment of running, walking and staying fit. Are you a recreational runner looking for a fun gang to run with or a competitive runner training for a 5k, 10k, half marathon or more, whatever your goals, the Bombay Running is for you.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bombayrunning
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bombayrunning

Pune Running: Pune Running group was started as a means to bring together a community of people who share a love for running. They are a friendly club offering a wide range of running and social activities and boast of having over 30,000 active members and runners.

Website: http://www.punerunning.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PuneRunning

Bangalore Runners: This is a friendly running club aimed to promote a healthier lifestyle through the sport of running by connecting, mentoring and supporting runners in the city of Bangalore.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/233302930081964

Delhi Runners Group: This running community connects fitness enthusiasts, beginners and other like-minded individuals. From expert advice, core and strength training to running tips, you get the best information and access.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/236339369824035

Chennai Runners: The “CR” as they are referred to locally, have been instrumental in bringing the running movement to Chennai and also putting the city on the marathon map of the country. This 8 year old group is all about passion, heart, and pure unadulterated love of running.

Website: https://chennairunners.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/chennairunners
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chennairunners

Hyderabad Runners: The Hyderabad Runners is a means for all of Hyderabad to come together and share a love of running. The group has many level of runners, from those who have never ran before to marathoners who meet on weekends with a common goal of running and staying motivated with a enthusiastic bunch of runners. It is a social running club that is open to all and completely free.

Website: https://www.hyderabadrunners.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HyderabadRunners
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hyderabadrunnerssociety

Jaipur Runners: The group runs to get fast, to get healthy, to relieve stress and to socialize with friends…every member has own reasons and Jaipur Runners membership provides a supportive environment for any runner goals by championing a lifelong commitment to running.

Website:   http://jaipurrunners.in
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaipurRunners
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaipurrugs

Surti Runners: Incepted in 2011 with a single motto of “Run and Help others Run”, Surti Runners exist to promote and encourage recreational running in Surat. Whether you’re looking for long runs, fun runs, marathons, information, social events or running resources, you’re in the right place.

Website:   http://www.surtirunners.in
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/www.surtirunners.in
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/surti_runners

Looking for others to run, walk & be active with. Join a club or group today!
For more information about the schedules, check out the annual running calender on India Running.

Participating in a Marathon is an experience you will cherish for a lifetime. It may be easier then you think, or it may be tougher then you think. But it definitely will be more rewarding then you think!

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