We’ve heard of some of the most renowned marathons in the world, like the Boston and London Marathons, but what about all those others? We’ve set out to find the most unique marathons across the globe that adventure seekers will go crazy for. From multiple-country races to beautiful scenic views, these races each stand out in their own way (which is why we picked them!)
The 10 Marathons In The World You Can't Miss
10. Australian Outback Marathon (Australia)
A trip to Australia would be incomplete without a visit to the outback. If you’re a runner, this marathon will knock two things off the to-do list. In the Australian Outback Marathon, the Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Tjuta (the Olgas) offer participants a great view of the outback, even if the heat and terrain push runners to their limits. Unsealed roads, soft-sand trails, and Red Earth provide the ultimate Outback running experience.
9. Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon (Thailand)
Plan for an early morning because this marathon has a start time of 2 a.m., early enough to beat the heat in the Thai capital of Bangkok. The race will take you through the heart of the city, giving you glimpses of numerous cultural sites including the Grand Palace. Expect to pass many aid stations with volunteers handing out encouragement and handfuls of watermelon. Knock out a few tourist hot spots while running this marathon.
8. Antarctic Ice Marathon (Antarctica)
For those marathon runners with an insatiable appetite for extremes, the Antarctic Ice Marathon is the perfect fit. It stands as the only footrace in the Arctic Circle, a place where penguins don’t even venture to visit. The race accepted just 51 participants last year and is already sold out for this year. What makes people run in this marathon? Word has it that the camaraderie is what makes the race such a great experience. See for yourself!
7. International Marathon of Marrakech (Morocco)
Taking place in January in order to take advantage of the mild weather, the International Marathon of Marrakech takes runners through a circuit of the city. Expect to see palm tree-lined streets and casual sightings of camels, olive groves and orange trees, and the snow-capped Atlas Mountains peeking through in the background.
6. Patagonian International Marathon (Chile)
With part of its mission being to highlight the phenomenal scenery of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve of Patagonia, this marathon leads participants through the tortuous gravel roads in the Torres del Paine National Park of Chile. The race takes place every September and was started with the idea to give people the opportunity to both explore and appreciate the natural beauty of the region, but also to contribute to the sustainable development of the Patagonia.
5. Jungfrau Marathon (Switzerland)
Located in Interlaken, Switzerland, this marathon is not for the faint of heart. The marathon takes place every September in the Swiss Alps, routing runners through the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau mountains in the Bernese Oberland area of the Alps. Participants have noted that the race is extremely challenging, but the scenery and views while running are outstanding.
4. Sparkasse Marathon der 3 Lander (Germany)
If you don’t speak German, you might not know what the name of this marathon alludes to. Fortunately, running in the race will explain everything. In this marathon, the start line is in Lindau Island, Germany, but the finish line is in Austria. Two countries not enough for you? Don’t worry, before you hit the finish line, you’ll also make a quick stop in Switzerland, making this marathon a 3-country experience. Enjoy cobblestone roads, quiet trails through the woods, and a view of Lake Constance during this race.
3. The Great Wall Marathon (China)
Ever wanted to run along the Great Wall of China and get a glimpse of the beautiful, small Chinese villages surrounding it? This is your chance! The Great Wall Marathon challenges runners to climb 5,164 steps of one of the most iconic wonders of the world. Although the race isn’t run entirely on the wall, participants will have ample time to experience the wall and its spectacular views of rural China. The marathon takes place every May.
2. Big Five Marathon (South Africa)
Named after the five most famous African game (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, and leopard), this marathon requires an adventurous spirit. No fences, rivers or any barrier, for that matter, separate runners from the wildlife of the African savannah. Get ready to run with the buffalo and avoid the lions, this marathon will not only test your running technique but also your fear threshold!
1. Inca Trail Marathon to Machu Picchu (Peru)
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, try running the Inca Trail Marathon to Machu Picchu. Considered by many as the most difficult marathon in the world, the elevation gains on the course are excruciating enough to challenge an experienced runner. A photo finish at Machu Picchu will give runners a memory they won’t forget.
This article was written by Julianne Aiello.