Marathons have ceased to simply be health or strength-related in the new age we reside in where creativity bounds to no end. Once more we curate a list of marathons that have and are happening around the world that, other than the fact that they might remain extraterrestrial to what we are normally exposed to, might just pique your interest and curiosity. With races spanning from the coasts of the Poles to the Saharan vibes of Africa, not to mention the exciting themes with cupid and zombies, these 15 races undoubtedly provide you with new facets of creativity.
1. Great Wall of China Marathon (China)
Who would have thought of running a marathon on the Great Wall of China whilst enjoying the majestic charm in the historic city of Beijing? The marathon lets you choose between running 10km or 5km and consists of 0,518 countable steps throughout varied terrains along the length of the race. Runners get to enjoy the breath-taking panoramic view on one of the UNESCO World Heritage, at the same time challenging themselves to the race.
2. The Everest Marathon (Nepal)
This marathon is the world’s highest marathon that was started in 1985 by Jan Turner and Tony Hunt, whilst on a trek to and from Everest Base Camp. The race starts at Gorak Shep which reaches 17,000 feet high and remains close to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal, subsequently ending at the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar at a height of 11,300 feet. The whole marathon is measured to be 42km over rough mountain trails and is the world’s most amazing race that has been held sixteen times since 1987.
3. Safaricom Marathon (Lewa Downs)
As breath-taking as it is to be running in the wild with animals roaming around, the Safaricom Marathon is a 42km track that cuts through Kenya’s oldest wildlife reserve, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The challenge prevalent in this race is running in the weather up to 35 degrees, with the heat and humidity going up to 85%.
4. The Polar Circle Marathon (Greenland)
The Polar Circle Marathon takes place in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. The endless ice and arctic tundra of this vast country make up the backdrop of this unusual race in which runners pass glacier tongues, moraine landscapes throughout this arctic desert. This is a rare opportunity to visit one of the most remote corners of the world, at the same time taking head on a challenging running event. The gravel road that is often covered with snow connects the ice sheets with the small township of Kangerlussuaq, just north of the Polar Circle.
5. Cupid’s Undie Run (Washington D.C.)
Cupid’s Undie Run is a unique yet interesting charitable run whereby runners run the marathon clothed in their valentine themed undies to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Originating in Washington D.C in 2010, the event has gained its popularity over the years and has been held in different cities every year.
6. Le Marathon du Medoc (France)
This marathon is an annual festival of wine near Bordeaux, France, where runners have to complete 26 miles and almost as many glasses of the local wine. The race starts in the town of Pauillac, where some of the best Bordeaux wines are produced. The run itself also has a time limit of 6 hours and 30 minutes.
7. Run For Your Lives (Singapore)
Run For Your Lives is a 3km to 5km obstacle course adventure run series created by Maryland-based Reed Street Productions. Runners navigate through various terrain and physically challenging obstacles, simultaneously having to try to dodge and escape zombies roaming the course trying to grab flags from runners’ flag belt, much like flag football. The event is quite comically billed as training for when the real zombie apocalypse dawns. During and after the race, people attend the Apocalypse Party which provides live music, beer, food, vendors, and games. Each participant is individually timed and broken into 9 competitive age divisions – costumes, team uniforms, and zombie make-up are highly encouraged at the event and add to the lighthearted atmosphere. Run For Your Lives Asia (RFYLA) originated from the US event and is wholly owned and managed by Action X, an independent Singapore-based event production company. The first Asian leg took place in Singapore on January 11, 2014, right in the heart of the city at Marina Bay with resounding success.
8. Spartan Race (USA)
You might be familiar with The Spartan Race that was held in Singapore last year and this year. The Spartan race is a series of obstacle races with varying distances and difficulty ranging from 3 miles to marathon distances. It is frequently presented with obstacles that include a fire jump, crawling under barbed wire, wall climbing, mud crawling, the “over-under-through , spear throw, rope climb, heavy object carries,”Herculean Hoist”, “Tyrolean Traverse”, monkey bars, Traversal Wall, Hobie Hop , Slippery Wall , a zig-zag log jump, steep mud climbs, tractor pulls, underwater submerging below walls, Atlas carries, tire flips, stump balance, rope swing and the now discontinued Gladiator Arena. Be prepared to get all sweaty and muddy if you are planning to join this year’s race!
9. Tough Mudder (USA)
As tough as the name of race sounds, the Tough Mudder is an endurance event series in which participants attempt 16–19 km long military-style obstacle courses. Designed and created by a British Harvard Business School postgraduate and a former corporate lawyer, this race tests mental and physical strength. The obstacles often play on common human fears, such as fire, water, electricity and heights. The main principle of the Tough Mudder revolves around teamwork, organizational values, and camaraderie throughout the course, designing obstacles that encourage group participation. Participants must commit to helping others complete the course, putting teammates before themselves, and overcoming fear.
10. The Color Run (USA)
This year’s colour run took place not long ago and our Instagram with countless and unceasing colourful photos on our feeds. Founded March 2011 as an event to promote healthiness and happiness by bringing the community together to participate in the “Happiest 5k on the Planet”, the run is also a 5km paint race where runners are showered with colored powder that is made from food-grade corn starch at stations along the run.
11. The Turkey Trot (USA)
The Turkey Trot is a fun run or footrace that is normally held on or around Thanksgiving Day in the United States as Americans anticipate indulging in Thanksgiving feasts in hopes of burn off calories before the big meal. As interesting as this race is, runners are dressed up in their Turkey costumes during the race so don’t be surprised if you happen to see running Turkeys around.
12. Star Wars™ Half Marathon – The Dark Side (USA)
If you are a big fan of Star Wars, this should definitely be on your bucket list! Runners get to run the marathon on Darth Vader’s turf with the Emperor’s white uniformed stormtroopers cheering along the way. To make things even more interesting, everybody dresses up in their Star Wars merchandise or even in their costumes to make this race a truly force-filled event.
13. Warrior Dash (USA)
The Warrior Dash is an obstacle course race with 12 world-class obstacles like Goliath and Fisherman’s Catch. Wade across wooded lakes, venture through mud-caked backroads as you make your loop to the finish line. Unlike other finisher medals, the medals given when you complete all the obstacles doubles as a wall-mountable bottle opener.
14. The Empire State Building Run-Up (USA)
More than 200 participants took part in this year’s 39th annual Empire State Building Run-Up, at the renowned New York landmark with 1576 steps. Running up the stairs was no easy task but participants were finally rewarded with the amazing view of New York City on the 86th floor observatory.
15. Jungfrau Marathon (Switzerland)
The Jungfrau Marathon is one of the world’s renowned mountain marathons , in full view of the famous Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains in the Bernese Oberland area of the Swiss Alps. The 42km course starts in Interlaken and climbs up 1,823 m in elevation to the finish at the Kleine Scheidegg. The first 10 km of the course begins on flat ground in central Interlaken and circles around the town centre before moving east to Bönigen, where runners briefly run along the shore of Lake Brienz. The race proceeds southwards to Wilderswil at the 10 km mark. From there the course heads upwards through Zweilütschinen at 15km to Lauterbrunnen, at 20km. The course loops for 5 km south of the town before returning to Lauterbrunnen and then heading eastward up the alpside. It is at this point that the race is steepest, zigzagging up the hillside and climbing 450 m in the 5 km to Wengen. The course heads southeast and relentlessly upward over the Wengernalp, turning east and then northeast beneath the Eiger toward the finish. It reaches its highest point of 2,205 m around the 40 km point, and then heads steeply downhill for the last kilometre to the finish at Kleine Scheidegg at an altitude of 2061 m.