photo: Laura Murray
We could talk to you all day about the benefits of running. From toning up to improving your general health, it’s a largely inclusive activity that is popular the world over, for very good reason. Not only does a love for running keep us in good shape, it can also allow us to compete and push ourselves when it comes to group runs and marathons.
Another great bonus to being a marathon runner is getting to check out all of the wonderful routes there are around the world. From the warmest climates to the busiest cities, marathons are hosted in a whole range of brilliant places and can be a great way to combine your love of running with a fun holiday.
There are hundreds, even thousands, of marathons available to take part in across the world each year. With so many to choose from, it can be tricky to work out which ones to try. So if you’re looking for inspiration, here are our top picks for 2018 ...
Zurich Marató de Barcelona
As the fourth most popular marathon in Europe, the Barcelona marathon attracts a wide range of runners. With the route running right through the heart of the city, you’ll catch a glimpse of Barcelona’s wonderful landmarks, from the atmospheric gothic quarter to the spectacular Sagrada Família.
Taking place in mid-March, you can expect a pleasant climate that’s not too uncomfortable for your run and is perfect for an extended break to really take in those sights - and enjoy some much deserved indulgence!
Midnight Sun Marathon, Norway
If southern sunny climes aren’t your thing, opt for a Northern adventure with Norway’s Midnight Sun marathon. As the Northernmost AMS certified marathon, it draws in the crowds for a host of wonderful reasons.
Taking place in the city of Tromsø, surrounded by stunning mountains and serene waters, its spectacular views are second to none with many describing it as a true ‘experience’ race, rather than simply a competitive challenge. Breathe in the crisp June air as you explore the city and of course enjoy the surreal spectacle of the season that is daylight, at midnight.
Virgin Money London Marathon
The London marathon has remained a highlight of the UK’s running calendar for over 35 years. Weaving runners around the famous River Thames and catching glimpses of London’s skyline, it’s a must-do for locals and International runners alike and always attracts a brilliant level of fun-loving fundraising activity.
Taking place in April each year around a largely flat course, it’s a much-loved race that often has the weather on its side - and is the perfect excuse for a trip to this historic city.
Athens Marathon, Greece
If you like your marathons steeped in history, then the Athens marathon is for you. Weaving from the town of Marathon to Athens Olympic Stadium, it’s a race that has been hotly contested ever since 1972.
Featuring tough uphill climbs, it’s not a run for the faint-hearted but it’s certainly one to tick off the bucket list as you round off your marathon year in early November.
Jinshanling Great Wall Marathon, China
The Great Wall of China is one of the seven wonders of the world, and what better way to see it than during a world-renowned marathon. At the turn of April and May each year, thousands of runners head for the historic wall to take on its twists and turns in a test of strength, stamina and endurance.
Combine your challenge with an insightful history lesson and discover more about this iconic wonder.
No matter where you choose to make your mark, make sure you do it in style.