7 Amazing Alternatives To The London Marathon
Didn’t get a place in next year’s London Marathon? Fear not – we’ve got 6 alternative global challenges that are, arguably, far better. Here’s where you could be racing through Cinderella’s castle or chasing lions across the African savannah…
For adventure-seekers… The Great Wall Marathon, China
When? 21st May 2016
Marathon + The Great Wall Of China = an extremely time-efficient way of seeing this historic masterpiece. As you’ll agree, walking the length of it is long. The course features 5,164 steps, some intense climbs, steep descents and hot, humid weather to contend with, but who doesn’t like a challenge? The good news is – you’ll get a little respite from the difficult course with a few gentler detours into rice fields and traditional villages. Be sure to let us know how you get on…
For fairytale fanatics… Walt Disney World Marathon, US
When? 10th January 2016
The most magical marathon of all features 26.2 miles of fairy dust, fireworks and en route entertainment – in the only way Disney know how. It’s basically the law to dress up, so make sure to don your Mickey ears, Tinkerbell wings or Cogsworth costume. The best bit? Once you’ve raced through all 4 Disney parks, you’ll be rewarded with a Mickey Mouse medal and whatever freebies you can pick up at the Expo centre. Just don’t be tempted to hop on Space Mountain half way through.
For history buffs… Athens Marathon, Greece
When? November – dates announced in January 2016
Bet you didn’t know the marathon was invented by accident. Back in 490 BC, a Greek soldier called Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens to tell the Athenians that they’d won the battle. And you, the humble amateur runner, can do exactly the same race of champions from Marathon to Athens, passing ancient tombs, quaint towns and ending with a triumphant finish at the Olympic stadium.
For animal lovers… The Big Five Marathon, South Africa
When? 25th June 2016
How does a safari on foot sound? This course winds its way through the stunning African savannah, and you can expect to see elephants, buffalos, lions and leopards lingering on the sidelines. It’s a tough and hilly journey, and there are no fences or barriers to separate you from the Big Five, so fingers crossed they don’t try to join in the race. Top tip – don’t take juicy gazelle steaks as mid-marathon snacks.
For competitive runners… Reykjavik Marathon, Iceland
When? 20th August 2016
Comfortable, breezy weather, flat surfaces and the cleanest air in the world make the conditions in Reykjavik a dream for marathon runners. It’s the best place to aim for your personal best, unless you’re distracted by a scenic backdrop of mountains, glaciers and waterfalls. The race coincides with ‘Culture Night’ which brings an entire third of the population onto the streets, so you won’t be lacking in atmosphere or spectators.
For beach lovers… Reggae Marathon, Jamaica
When? December 2016
For a post-marathon recovery that includes lounging on pristine white beaches and taking a dip in crystal clear waters – Jamaica is the place to be. For the race itself, you’ll pound the powder of Seven Mile Beach, loop through the town of Negril and then head north towards Green Island. In true Jamaican spirit, you’ll be entertained with reggae bands and cheered on by local spectators at each mile along the way.
For avid sightseers… BMW Berlin Marathon, Germany
When? 25th September 2016
You’ll see the best bits of Berlin on this run. Landmarks located conveniently on its course include the State Opera House, the Siegessäule column and the Brandenberg Gate – where you’ll triumphantly finish. Home to 9 marathon records already, the pancake-flat course ensures that you’ll get the best time possible.