Running a marathon is something that many people around me are crossing off their bucket list. And if you’re thinking of doing this (crazy) 42.195 km run, why not skip the skyscrapers and sweltering clime of Singapore for stunning scenery elsewhere? Consider these locations that make awesome vacation spots at the same time:
Blackmores Sydney Running Festival
It was a tough choice between Blackmores Sydney Running Festival and the equally popular City2Surf run; but we decided to go with the former because frankly, it’s one of the best ways to see the metropolis of Sydney. The highlight of this festival is running across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge (!) while those who sign up for the Marathon will see the likes of Hyde Park, Centennial Park, Royal Botanic Gardens, and cross their finish line at Sydney Opera House.
For the non-competitive folks (or those in training), there’s also the Half Marathon, 9km Blackmores Bridge Run, and the 3.5km medibank Family Fun Run.
Race Day: 18 September 2016. Registration is open.
The Great Wall Marathon
Take 5, 164 steps into history with one of the world’s most challenging runs, the Great Wall Marathon. Offering three distances – the Marathon, Half Marathon, and 8.5km Fun Run – the starting point is at the Yin & Yang Square in the old Huangyaguan fortress. On top of traversing the historical Great Wall (expect many steps and steep ascents), the route will take participants through scenic Chinese villages, valleys, fields, and farmland.
When: 21 May 2016. Registration is open.
Le Marathon du Médoc
Wine, oysters, foie gras, cheese, steak, and ice cream – Le Marathon du Médoc is definitely one for the hedonists. Held every September in France’s Médoc region, the full-length marathon course – fancy dress mandatory – takes you to 23 vineyards and food stops featuring local specialties on the way. The best part? The fun starts even before the race, as participants can attend pasta parties (complete with wine tasting, of course) hosted by chateaus in the region on the night before the race.
When: 10 September 2016. Registration estimated to open in February 2016.
Big Five Marathon
A combination of a marathon and a safari, the Big Five Marathon is one for those with a death wish thrill-seekers because there are no fences to separate runners from African game (not even in lion country) in this race across the savannah in South Africa’s northern Limpopo province. City slickers, be prepared that this terrace involves deep sand, dirt tracks, and pebbly surfaces with holes. Besides the classic marathon, there is also a half marathon.
Race Day: 25 June 2016. Registration is open.
Athens Classic Marathon
This is where it began in 490 BC: Greek messenger Pheidippides allegedly ran nonstop from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to bring the news of Greek victory over the Persians. Follow the footsteps of Pheidippides in the Athens Marathon; from the town of Marathon, past the Tomb of Marathon (where Athenian soldiers that died in the battle are buried), to the finish line at the Panathinaikon Stadium, which was also where the first modern Olympic Games was held in 1896.
So. Much. History…There’s also a 5km and 10km race if you’re not up for the full thing.
Race Day: 13 November 2016. Registration has not opened for 2016.