Running a marathon is something that’s on your average person’s bucket list, and after one they’ll never do it again.
But you’re no average person. Running a marathon is a lifestyle, not a once in a lifetime achievement. So how do you make marathons a bucket list experience again?
We have some insane marathons that will turn an average experience into a once in a lifetime destination run.
These marathons range from scenic, difficult runs through nature to fairly flat runs that take place through some of the world’s most incredible cities. Read on to see our favorite destination marathons from around the globe.
Maratona di Roma
In case you have absolutely no idea how to glean meaning from foreign words, this is the Marathon of Rome.
Rome is one of the most beautiful, historic cities in the world. What better way to explore it than running the streets with thousands of other marathon lovers?
You’ll race past everything from the Colosseum to The Vatican, so be prepared to slow down and take it all in at certain points.
As far as difficulty goes, this course is fairly flat, but be warned: half of the course takes place on cobbled streets. It’s not the easiest terrain to navigate, but Maratona di Roma is definitely not the hardest marathon on our list.
Midnight Sun Marathon
From late May until mid-July, the people of Norway experience a phenomenon known as the midnight sun. Thanks to the tilt of the earth, the northern parts of the globe experience nearly 24-hour sunshine during the summer months, and on June 22nd, they hold a marathon at midnight.
The Midnight Sun Marathon takes place in Tromso, Norway, a beautiful coastal city. Those who run the marathon will be rewarded with sweeping views of the Norweigan Sea, as well as picturesque snow-capped mountains. You’ll also pass the Arctic Cathedral, a beautiful landmark of the town.
The course isn’t too difficult, with rolling hills as your only elevation gains, along with the slight incline of the Tromso bridge, which you cross twice over the course of the marathon.
If you want a summertime marathon that’s not too hot, a beautiful midnight run in the sunlight, and a crowd of locals cheering you on, look no further than Midnight Sun Marathon.
Great Wall Marathon
I’ll tell you right now, a lot of the marathons on this list take place in Europe, but this one certainly doesn’t. In case you haven’t guessed by the title, we’re heading to China for this one.
This marathon takes place at the Great Wall of China, starting in the city of Tianjin, just east of Beijing. Great Wall Marathon starts and finishes in Yin and Yang Square but almost the entire marathon takes place on the Great Wall itself.
This marathon is not for the faint of heart.
This is one of the most difficult marathons on our list. A hefty portion of this marathon takes place on what is called the “Goat Track” by locals, and you’ll see why. This is the part of the wall with the massive staircases, and it won’t be fun.
Overall you’ll run a whopping 5,164 steps of those staircases, so even if your lungs are okay, your calves will be screaming at you. Break out your calf compression sleeve for this one. However, the views of sweeping hillsides and small Chinese villages will more than make up for your pain.
The Great Wall Marathon is truly a bucket list marathon, and as you wheeze and scream your way through it, you’ll be cheered on by enthusiastic locals. Don’t miss this one.
Schneider Electric Marathon di Paris
We’re back to Europe for another fairly easy marathon through another beautiful, historic city. Welcome to Paris, France.
The Paris Marathon is known for its huge crowds and beautiful views of the city. However, if you’re sick of the city streets by the end of this marathon, there are plenty of outdoor escapes in Paris, as well.
Schneider Electric Marathon di Paris starts at Champs Elysées and ends at the epic Arc de Triomphe. In between, the course winds its way through the streets of Paris. Runners will take in incredible views of landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Louve, Notre Dame, the Bastille, and the Seine river.
This marathon isn’t too difficult, with a short climb at the 32km mark the only real elevation gain. It’s probably the easiest marathon on our list, but with incredible sights and an amazing crowd, this should still be a bucket list marathon for beginners and experts alike.
Nature lovers, come back to me. We’re out of the city and into the beautiful scenery of the lush islands of Hawaii. The Kauai Marathon is not for the faint of heart, but the amazing views and the beach party at the end are totally worth the struggle.
Kauai Marathon starts and ends at Poipu Beach on the South shore of Kauai Island. The route follows the coastline for a bit before going inland through the famous “tunnel of trees” and finally up to the top of Mount Kalaheo.
This is another difficult marathon, with 662m of elevation gain, and virtually no break from the hot Hawaiian sun aside from the run through the tunnel of trees. If this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, Paris and Rome are always waiting.
With an amazing crowd of revelers including hula dancers and drummers, a beach party at the end, and incredible views, this is truly a bucket list marathon. Plus for you American runners, this the only race on the list you won’t need to break out your passport for.
Ready to Run? Prepare for Your Destination Marathons
Now that you have a list of the best marathons for your bucket list, it’s time to start preparing.
In addition to the extensive training you’ll need to do, it’s also good to stock up on the best equipment such as running shoes.
And if you’re looking to turn your destination marathons into a full trip, we have plenty of info for you right here, from travel accessories to incredible destination guides all over the globe. Have fun running around the world!