10 best marathons around the world worth going the distance for
From chasing your dreams at Disney World to taking part in a race with 23 wine stops, there’s plenty of weird and wonderful marathons out there for when running around the local park just isn’t doing it for you anymore. Here’s a rundown of some of the best marathons around the world that are definitely worth going the distance for.
runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
No matter how much you try to deny it, you’re never too old for some Disney magic! Grab your favourite pair of Mickey Mouse ears and get ready for 26 miles of pure unadulterated joy. The marathon in 2022 is an extra special one too; they’ll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney Resort with extraordinary entertainment, challenges, and medals. You can sign up here.
Organised by RunThrough Kit, the 2021 November race weekend is the first event of its kind at Alton Towers Resort. Starting amongst the iconic rides, you’ll follow the paths and roads within the theme park before grabbing your unique themed medal at the finish line. And the fun doesn’t stop there. Once the race is over, runners and their families will have the entire park to themselves, which is included in the entry fee!
Great Wall Marathon
The clue’s really in the name. The Great Wall marathon runs along the Great Wall of China, to the east of Beijing. You can choose from the marathon, half marathon, or 8.5km, but don’t expect to be smashing any personal bests. This arduous race takes the average runner twice as long to complete due to the amount of steep ascents and giant staircases. But the breathtaking views and crowd will definitely be more than worth the hard work. Everybody will be cheering you on as you run through the lower valley and into the villages.
Marathon du Médoc
Who knew you could combine your love of wine with running?! Fancy dress is compulsory at the Marathon du Médoc as you drink wine and explore the most famous vineyards in France. There are 23 different wines for you to try on your way round, with plenty of time to sample cheese, ice cream, and oysters as you race through all 26 miles! And the best thing? The organisers encourage you to take it steady, so there’s no need to get worked up about hitting a certain time. Just revel in the wine, food, and everybody’s wacky costumes.
It’s difficult to imagine a better way to experience the tropical scenery of Hawaii. Kauai is a stunning green rainforest with incredible waterfalls, volcanic peaks, and stunning white beaches, promising a scenic route with every corner. Starting on Poipu Beach, you’ll make your way along the coastline, through the ‘Tunnel of Trees’, onto Omao and then out to Lawai, before climbing to the top of Kalaheo. It isn’t easy ascending a total of 2,171 feet in the blazing sun, but the food, drink, music, dancing, and crowd support will be there to keep you going.
Big Five Marathon South Africa
Renowned as the ‘wildest of them all’, the Big Five Marathon gives you the once in a lifetime opportunity to see elephants, rhinos, buffalos, lions, and leopards up close as you race through the South African savannah. The sandy trails and dirt tracks take you past lakes, wildlife, and rocky hills. It’s safe to say the adrenaline of being near a lion will certainly give you the motivation to run a little faster!
New York Marathon
The New York Marathon is the largest marathon in the world, covering some of the city’s most famous landmarks. You’ll start at Staten Island, exiting via the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, through Brooklyn, then into Queens before heading to Manhattan. You’ll finish the race in Central Park where you’ll be handed a medal and recovery bag.
Famous for its rugged cliffs, peaceful coves, sandy bays, and its incredible marine life, you’ll be seeing glorious views of the ocean during the Pembrokeshire Marathon. It’s not for the faint-hearted though. There’s some frightening climbs to contend with, but once you’re up, you get to take in the scenery before an epic descent.
The Midnight Mountain Marathon
Set in the Brecon Beacons, this breathtaking marathon leads you through forests, over streams, past waterfalls, and up mountains. The race begins at 5:30pm and you have to finish before the midnight cut off. With over 2,907 feet of elevation across the entire course, you’ll definitely need to focus on hill training in the months leading up to the event.
Although it’s not too far from home, the London Marathon has to be at the top of your bucket list as a runner. People from all walks of life travel to run this marathon, with plenty wearing hilarious costumes to keep you entertained along the way. And once you turn the magnificent corner at Buckingham Palace, you’re on the home stretch!
Need help with your nutrition as a runner? Check out our blog on meal prep for runners: what to eat before, during, and after a run for more advice.