Avid runners around the world, whether amateur or professional, often dream of discovering exotic locations by foot. From the prestigious, international city marathons to those in more remote and obscure locations, these events are the perfect way for runners to get a glimpse of the scenery and culture whilst aiming for a personal best.
For those looking to go beyond the renowned running events of London and New York, we’ve called on the expert advice of personal travel managers and compiled a list of some of the most remarkable marathon tracks in the world.
The jungle track: Nuang Jungle Marathon, Selangor Malaysia
If you’re not afraid of extremes, then this is the marathon for you. Set in the steamy, dense rainforest of Hulu Langat, the Nuang Jungle Marathon will test both the mental and physical endurance of even the most experienced trail runners and hikers. Participants have the option to run in the half or full marathon with competitors given between 10 and 14 hours respectively to complete each course.
Nearest gateway city: Kuala Lumpur.
The mountain track: Jungfrau, Switzerland
Lovers of rugged mountain-scapes will appreciate the location of Jungfrau marathon set amongst the majestic Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps. The 42km track meanders through this spectacular landscape, beginning with 10km of flat track before ascending to 2,100m above sea level. This event caters to runners of all ages and fitness levels and includes options for kids, teens and handicapped contestants.
When: September. Registrations open February.
Nearest gateway city: Bern.
The city track: Islandsbanki Reykjavík Marathon, Iceland
See the best sites of the Iceland’s quaint capital of Reykjavík, as you breathe in some of the cleanest air in Europe. The race culminates with the Reykjavik Culture Night Festival, which celebrates the anniversary of the city, offering an excellent atmosphere to celebrate your achievement. And whether you’re doing the fun run, the relay race or the full scale 42km, all registered runners receive free admittance into one of Reykjavik’s many geothermal baths and pools – the perfect remedy for your mind and body after a 14οC run.
When: August. Registrations open January.
The ice track: Antarctic Ice Marathon, Antarctica
When it comes to location and posing a challenge this marathon takes the cake. The rugged, ever-changing Antarctic landscape is so unpredictable that no clear description of the tracks can be made. The Antarctic Ice Marathon breaks all sorts of records, primarily being the coldest and most southerly held marathon in the world. The event is divided into the classic 42km and a staggering 100km footrace. This has to be one of the most challenging, and rewarding, marathons on the planet.
When: 42km (November); 100km (January). Payment by March.
Nearest gateway city: Participants receive return transportation from Punta Arenas, Chile.
The tropical track: Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon
On the other end of the temperature scale, this Cayman Islands marathon is perfect for those who love warm weather, coconut palm-lined beaches, and turquoise waters. Held in the beautiful Caribbean city of George Town, the looped course is completely flat and takes runners along the capital’s many waterfronts, through multi-million dollar neighbourhoods and the city’s financial district. With a half and full marathon on offer, participants can also choose to celebrate post-event by attending the carb-filled pasta party.
Nearest gateway city: George Town, Grand Cayman.
The altitude track: Inca Trail Marathon, Machu Picchu
Reaching altitudes of up to 4,200m, the Inca Trail Marathon is located in the rugged Andes mountain range, which is steeped in history. Starting at the Incan capital of Cusco, the 30km trail follows many of Peru’s iconic historical landmarks along the mountain range through historical ruins, most notably the awe-inspiring lost city of Machu Picchu. As the trail is set within a heritage listed national park, the event is open to limited registrations in order to protect the surrounding landscape and ancient ruins.
When: June and August. Usually sells out by January.
Nearest gateway city: Cusco, Peru.
If these marathons got your heart racing for all the right reasons, speak to your personal travel manager or find one here.