Waves rolling off the Pacific ocean, dormant vineyards enticing your senses, and 26.2 miles run entirely over ice. We’ve compiled a list of the 5 best marathons that get you off the beaten path and envelop you in jaw-dropping scenery.
Napa Valley Marathon
photo credit: huffingtonpost.com
While many think of Napa as an incredible destination for wine, it also offers an unforgettable stage to run a marathon. Runners wind through the valley along the Silverado Trail and are greeted by sweeping views of grapevines and golden mustard flowers. Offered in early March, this race is an excellent way to kick-off your spring.
photo credit: competitor.com
Lush expanses of green rainforest frame this once in a lifetime marathon. Runners are welcomed by awe-inspiring mountains in the distance and soaring palm trees lining the streets. Offered December 1st, the climate isn’t quite as hot as you might expect in the surrounding jungle. After crossing the finish line participants have no shortage of opportunities to explore the Costa Rican capital, and taste first-hand the world renowned coffee.
Athens Classic Marathon
photo credit: runabroad.com
The mac-daddy of marathons, the O.G. of foot-races, the Athens Classic is run on the same course as Pheidippides (thank you auto-correct for that spelling) over 2,500 years ago. Beginning on an ancient battle ground, competitors zip around the historic Marathon Tomb which honors those lost in the battle, and end at Panathinaiko Stadium (first venue to ever hold the Olympic Games as we know them today). This race is held every year in early November.
North Pole Marathon
Although you won’t be performing a miracle by running over this water (it’s frozen solid!) you may just feel like you have after completing this one-of-a-kind marathon. In this truly unique experience competitors battle temperatures plunging 30ºC below zero, extremely limited visibility, ice and snow under your feet, and as a cherry on top, resident Polar Bears. The hefty price of €11,900 provides all accommodations at the Pole, flights back and forth from Norway, helicopter transportation while there, and of course a commemorative t-shirt. If you’ve got what it takes, next year’s is April 9th.
Bermuda Triangle challenge
Kicking off with an invitation-only one mile race, the Bermuda Triangle Challenge provides athletes an entire weekend’s worth of races. Blue-green coasts melt into pink sand beaches as runners roll through the hills that define Bermuda’s perimeter. Once there, participants can choose a 10K, half, or full-marathon making this accessible even to those who are just getting into running. The Trip Tribe makes no guarantee that superstitious runners won’t disappear into the Bermuda Triangle.