The Top 6 Most Fascinating Marathons From Around the World

Are you an avid runner and aspire to do a marathon? Some runners have bucket lists of marathons they’d love to conquer.

With a little bit of research, you can see stories about those ambitious marathoners who want to do all six Abbott World Marathons which take place from Tokyo to Berlin.

But, there are even more interesting places to race.

All of them are still the requisite 26.2 miles (30 kilometers) in length to require for a real marathon, and some of them have strict requirements for participants, and high entry fees.

Here are 6 of the most fascinating marathons from around the world:

Inca Trail Marathon

Inca Trail Marathon: The Toughest

Arguably considered one of the hardest marathons in the world, this takes runners to Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, in Peru. The race has been around since 1996 and starts at 8,600 feet and goes up to 13,779 feet.

It’s held in June or August and is limited to only 45 participants a year. The cost for early registration is $3,400. Temperatures during the course can dip to 30 degrees and up to 70 degrees, and the entire course is on unpaved paths.

The Men’s record is 6 hours 24 minutes, and the Women’s record is 8 hours 28 minutes. So far, it has a 100 percent success rate for everyone completing the marathon in one day.

The 25th anniversary of this marathon is in August 2020. The scenery includes scenes of the Inca fortress, llamas and 7,000 stairs.

The elevation ups and downs on this trail is supposed to be the same as running up and down the Empire State Building 10 times.

The Polar Circle Marathon

The Polar Circle Marathon: The Coolest

Through gravel, snow and ice, with temperatures never above freezing (ranging between 5 and 23 degrees), this marathon takes place in Greenland in October.

Only 250 runners are allowed and the race never gets above 100 feet altitude. The cost is about $450.

The race has been around since 2001 and the Men’s finish is 2 hours and 53 minutes and Women’s is 4 hours and 14 minutes.

You’ll be traveling over glaciers, through arctic deserts and over ice crevasses. Bundle up.

The Bagan Temple Marathon

The Bagan Temple Marathon: The Most Mystical

Expect to see thousands of pagodas and temples along this magical route through Myanmar, past Inle Lake, Ngapali Beach and Mount Victoria.

The best Men’s record is 4 hours 22 minutes, and the best Women’s is 5 hours and 14 minutes. The race entry fee is $250.

Few people venture to this part of Asia, and the area is as pristine. The scenic views along the mystical plains of Bagan is what will take your breath away, not the strenuousness of the race.

The All Downhill Marathon

The World’s Fastest Marathon: All Downhill

For the first year this September, there’s an all downhill marathon and maybe someone will break the yet-to-be-unbroken record of running a marathon in less than two hours.

It takes place in Spain, in Granada in the Sierra Nevada National Park, starting at the highest peak in the area at 8, 546 feet and snake its way down the mountain.

From there it’s downhill with a drop of 6,358 feet and an average descent of 4.6 percent

The entrance fee is $110, and the biggest problem may be finding a way to stop yourself from running.

The Great Wall Marathon

The Great Wall Marathon: All Steps

This is a marathon that is like being on a Stairmaster for more than 26 miles.

Starting in Tianjin, China, the nearly 2,500 marathoners who have made it through every year find it brutal on the legs and calves with 5,164 steps to climb, both up and down, along the Great Wall of China. The biggest danger is tripping on the mostly uneven stairs.

The record time so far for Men is 3 hours and 9 minutes, and for Women 4 hours and 11 minutes. The cost is $350.

Lewa Safari Marathon

Lewa Safari Marathon: Run For Your Life

A dusty run through the Kenyan Wildlife Preserve is also a run for your life since you could be on the menu for some of the beasts you may encounter along this plateau at 5,500 feet.

The biggest danger on this dirt road marathon is sunstroke and an animal attack. So far, the record for the race is 2 hours and 18 minutes for Men and 2 hours and 53 minutes for Women. The race takes place in June and temperatures get up to 80-plus degrees. Cost to enter the marathon is $200.

There are armed guards and helicopters at all times patrolling along the route which has more than 1,400 runners, and it’s literally called a “Run For the Wild” with the main aim to raise money for conservation and community projects in Africa.

So, start preparing for your Marathon Bucket List, but be aware that your local half-marathon event can’t be as grueling as some of the other ones out there for you to explore.