As anyone who’s done one will tell you, running a marathon is one of the most demanding challenges out there. Taking on 26.2 miles is an extreme physical and mental test that requires plenty of hard work, determination and resilience. While it’s a gruelling experience, it’s also incredibly rewarding.
With thousands of marathons held around the globe every year, there are a few that stand out. Boasting incredible views, an exhilarating atmosphere, or both, here are a few of our favourites:
Tokyo Marathon (February)
Tokyo is the latest marathon to be added to the world marathon majors. First held in 2007, it’s a relatively new course that’s growing bigger and bigger every year. With an incredible atmosphere, you’ll run past historic sites such as the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Station.
Kilimanjaro Marathon (February)
You couldn’t ask for a more inspiring backdrop than the world’s highest free-standing mountain. The course starts at Moshi Stadium and proceeds through farms, villages, banana and coffee plantations and forests.
Rome Marathon (April)
Explore Rome’s architectural wonders by foot in this historic race. The course will take you all over the city and past nearly all of its historic sites, starting at the Via dei Fori Imperiali, passing the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Saint Peter’s Basilica before winding back around to the Coliseum. While it’s relatively flat, you’ll be running on cobbled streets for around half of it. A great marathon with all the pasta and pizza you could ask for at the end.
London Marathon (April)
First held in 1981, the London Marathon is famous for attracting some of the world’s best runners. While the best-of-the-best battle it out for victory, thousands of runners enjoy the incredible support of the massive crowd and drink in the exhilarating atmosphere.
A flat, fast course that starts in Blackheath and ends in front of Buckingham Palace, you’ll get to see the very best of London’s landmarks including Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, The Mall and more.
Great Wall Marathon (May)
Widely regarded as one of the toughest marathons in the world, the Great Wall Marathon challenges runners to climb more than 5,164 steps of the Great Wall before running through Chinese villages.
First run in 1999, the marathon has gained popularity over the years largely due to the sheer challenge of the course and amazing support of the crowds.
Mont Saint-Michel Marathon (May)
The race begins in the Bretagne village of Cancale and ends in Normandy as competitors run along the stunning north-western Atlantic coast of France. Take in the gorgeous views of the French countryside before finishing in front of the famous eighth-century monastery of Mont Saint-Michel. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of France’s most-visited landmarks, the castle is one of the most epic spots to finish a marathon and hosts one heck of an after-party.
Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon (June)
The Midnight Sun Marathon in Norway is by far one of the most incredible and bizarre races on the planet. This wild Scandinavian adventure sees 4,000 runners set off at 8.30 pm running well past midnight to the finish line.
As the sun never sets during summer in Tromsø, you’ll get to bask in the Scandinavian sunlight throughout the night before celebrating into the morning. Run along the city’s waterfront with views of snow-capped mountains while you’re cheered on by the excited locals.
New York City Marathon (November)
The NYC Marathon was launched in 1970 and is now the world’s largest marathon with the highest number of runners. The race takes place through all five boroughs of the city as runners set off from Staten Island, cross over the Pulaski Bridge, and pass the finish line in Central Park. The event draws massive crowds out in support and is not to be missed!
Thinking about taking on the challenge of a marathon and not sure where to begin? Get started with our training guide, discover our handy fundraising tips, and find out how to stay focused during training.