There are hundreds of destination marathons scheduled throughout the year: big, small, crazy, extreme, high level, low level, long, shorter, with kids, without kids. One for every taste. After all, unlike other sports, running is something that anyone can do, with a bit or a lot of training. You also get the opportunity to combine a marathon with discovering new destinations. It is vacation, sightseeing, running and relaxation all rolled in one.
Participating in a marathon has become one of those bucket-list items. Here’s our pick of the biggest and the best.
1. The Great Wall Marathon, China
The Great Wall Marathon is a tough, beautiful and definitely extraordinary experience. Since the first race in 1999, the Great Wall Marathon has now grown into one of the most popular marathons in the running world. Over 2,500 runners from more than 50 countries show up in Beijing each year to run the race of their lives on the world-famous Great Wall of China, whose tough terrain is not for the faint hearted. It’s an annual marathon held in May along and on the Huangyguan or Huangaya Pass on the Tianjin section of the Great Wall of China, East of Beijing. The marathon features three distances: a full marathon of over 42 km, a half-marathon over 21 km and an 8.5 km non-competitive “fun run” on the wall. Runners who participate will have to tackle the 5,164 stone steps and many steep ascents and descents. However, this challenge is undoubtedly rewarding – while they’re struggling along, runners will also encounter breathtaking surroundings and views as they make their way through the villages and lower valley. They can also expect a festive atmosphere, as onlookers cheer them on.
Run the Great Wall Marathon and have the time of your life with runners from around the world. What more! Experience all things Chinese on one of our unforgettable China tours. Make your China travel easy – we do all the organising for you while you have all the fun. Start by applying for your China visa online.
2. Athens Authentic Marathon, Greece
The Athens Authentic Marathon is an annual marathon race held in Athens, Greece normally in early November. The Athens Marathon celebrates Pheidippides run from Marathon to Athens, which went down in history and gave its name to the race and distance we now know as the Marathon. With thousands of years of history and mythology, Athens is the birthplace of the ancient and modern Olympic Games. The 42,195m from Marathon to Athens is considered to be one of the most demanding and tough Marathon routes in the world as the course has had a reputation for rough hills and lots of heat. Every year over 43,000 runners participate, and 80,000 visitors gather at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. The Authenthic Marathon is truly an event that should be on every runner’s “bucket list”
This event is the most unique and exciting experience you can have in Greece. Along with the race you can count on numerous possibilities for fun, sightseeing, shopping, culinary secrets, archaeological & art walks, swimming etc. If you’re a keen runner why not consider taking your running shoes on holiday? Akbar Travels offers a variety of Greece tour packages and an easy Greece Visa online application all at affordable prices. Experience the ancient ruins and the modern attractions of Greece today.
3. New York City Marathon, USA
The New York City Marathon (currently branded TCS New York City Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is an annual marathon held on the first Sunday of November and runs through the five boroughs of New York City, USA passing through all of the Big Apple’s sights. Starting on Staten Island, the New York City Marathon goes through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Incepted in 1970, it is one of the biggest and most famous marathons in the world with over 52,000 finishers in 2018. Every year 100,000 enter the lottery hoping to get a coveted spot.
If you are intending to run one marathon, then the TCS New York City Marathon is the one to run. Having established itself as one of the premier annual marathon events in the world, New York is the city of excitement, where the locals line the streets in support of runners from around the world. Get your partner, family or friends ready for a holiday like no other and an achievement you’ll be talking about for years to come. Apply for your US Visa now and get running for the big event.
4. Le Marathon Du Medoc, France
Love to run? Love wine? Then Le Marathon Du Medoc is the race for you! Incepted in 1984, this amazing event takes place every year in the South of France. At this event, you run a full marathon while drinking wine and feeding yourself on all the lovely delicacies France has to offer. You have no less than 23 WINE stops! Routed through 60 vineyards in the fabled villages of the Medoc region, this event appeals to the true connoisseur of fine runs. There is no marathon in the world where they, at the aid stations, ask you: “red or white Sir?” Thankfully there is plenty of plain water, bananas, cake, oranges and even oysters, foie gras and cheese if you so choose. The event is built on the four pillars of Health, Sport, Conviviality and Fun. Over half of the field dresses up in costume and every year there is a new theme. The field is limited to 8,500 runners and sells out quickly, so runners have to enter early to guarantee their spot.
So, want to enjoy wine without needing to run for it? Akbar Travels lets you create lasting memories of all the most well-loved Europe tour attractions, without the stress of planning and at an affordable price. Explore our Europe tours below to start planning your journey. Talk to our Visa Expert now!
5. BMW Berlin Marathon, Germany
Berlin is truly a city of runners! The Berlin Marathon is a very popular race that attracts the world’s fastest and most talented runners, held annually in Berlin. With over 122 nationalities & more than a million spectators, this worldwide phenomenon began in 1974. The Berlin Marathon, held on the last weekend of September every year, has grown to include almost 40,000 runners — it’s now one of the World Marathon Majors, along with New York, Boston, Chicago and London. The most marathon world records for men and women have been set at the Berlin course. Attracting people from around the world, it is known for its flat profile, even surface, cheering enthusiastic spectators, and its frequently mild autumn temperatures.
6. Paris Marathon, France
The Paris Marathon is one of the most popular marathons in Europe and a beautiful race through the city, passing world famous sights, such as the Champs Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, the river banks, the Louvre, the Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Over 50,000 runners take part every year in order to see the amazing Parisian landmarks that line the route. One of the most picturesque cities in the world, Paris is a wonderful location to choose when you are looking to run a marathon. The route takes in many of the landmarks the city is so famous for and occurs in April when the weather is mild and perfect for running. If you want to take part in the Paris marathon you will need to have a valid France visa.
Akbar Travels puts all the planning, arranging and coordinating of your France trip into an all-in-one package. From obtaining your France visa to getting you the best France holiday package; we have you covered.
7. Dubai Marathon, United Arab Emirates
The Dubai Marathon also known as the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon occurs annually in early January taking advantage of the cooler winter temperatures. While the glamorous city is known for its impressive skyscrapers and luxurious lifestyle, Dubai Marathon does live up to its city’s reputation too. In fact, the Dubai Marathon is the world’s richest marathon with the most expensive prize money of US$200,000 for first place winners and an additional US$100,000 for marathon world record bonus. Along the marathon route you will also get to see some of the most impressive architectures in the world with amazing scenery. Now over 30,000 runners take part in the race across the full distance, as well as the 10km road race and 4km fun run.
8. London Marathon, United Kingdom
The London Marathon, also called the Virgin Money London Marathon, is UK’s most iconic landmark race. The motto of the London Marathon is “Run for Charity.” It holds the record for the largest single annual fundraising event in the world and since its inception in 1981 it has raised a whopping £770 million for charity. From the cheering crowds and thrilling atmosphere to the world-famous landmarks such as the Tower of London, the London Eye and Big Ben lining the 26.2-mile route from Greenwich to the Mall, it’s no surprise that this is one of the most famous, spectacular and largest races in the world. Maybe you’ll even run by a member of the royal family. Celebrities, e.g. recently Katie Price or TV chef Gordon Ramsay, also like to participate as sponsored runners to raise money for a charity.
9. Boston Marathon, USA
The Boston Marathon is the longest tradition after the Olympic Games and ranks as one of the world’s most prestigious road racing events. It has taken place on the third Monday of April every year since 1897. The race is also iconic because you have to qualify. It starts in Hopkinton (Massachusetts) and ends in Boston is known for its gentle hills and a few challenging uphill and downhill sections. The Boston Marathon is one of the six that makes to the World Marathon Majors; the annual competition that brings together the six most important marathons in the world since 2006.
Participate and explore the best of Boston with us when you book our Boston holiday packages for everything from romantic getaways to family trips.
10. Midnight Sun Marathon, Norway
It’s the middle of the night and the sun is shining, what better time to complete a marathon? In Norway’s city of Tromso, positioned 322 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, the Annual Midnight Sun event is the world’s northernmost marathon. Here the sun never sets and has 24 hours of daylight in summer! This Marathon is a very unique race, held annually in late June. Runners leave the start line at 8:30pm, winding over the city’s bridge with rugged snow-capped mountains providing the panorama. The route stays close to the water, and crowds of merry locals are known to set up picnics beside the track, cheering runners on and offering nuts as snacks or hot coffee. This is an experience race, not a ‘personal best’ race, one which attracts more than 4,000 runners from 56 countries.
Runners from all over the world travel to Tromso, Norway to run in the Arctic and the land of Midnight sun. Where should I stay in Tromso? Which are the best flight connections? How do I apply for Norway Visa? Akbar Travels has all your answers.
Whether you are a runner or not, it is always noteworthy to push yourself to new limits and better yourself – whether as a parent, employee, student, friend or runner.
What do you think?
Do you have a favorite Marathon that’s not on the list? Which sounds the most exciting to you? Leave a comment below and let us know!