Footraces vary in distance from 5K to thousands of miles, and in time from minutes to months.
Let’s hit the road and explore some remarkable and adventurous races per continent!
21 April 2018: BLUE RIDGE MARATHON, VIRGINIA, USA
This road race made it to the “World’s 15 Toughest Marathons” list by the Weather Channel, was featured in Runner’s World Magazine, Ranked #1 on “Toughest Half Marathons in the World” by halfmarathons.net and too many more accolades to list in one spot.
The race earned a 100% satisfaction rating on marathonguide.com with hundreds of five-star reviews like this:
“My favorite race year in and year out because of the organization, scenery, volunteers, and the fans. The mountains are worth the climb as the views are spectacular. The festival that follows with music, food, and drinks is very well done.”
Location: Virginia, USA
Race date: 21 April 2018
Race distances: double marathon, full marathon, full marathon relay, half marathon, Star 10K and Family 1 Miler
Terrain: road, mountain
Entry fee: $8 up to $350
Race info: #BlueRidgeMarathon.
18 JUNE 2018: MT. WASHINGTON ROAD RACE, NEW HAMPSHIRE, USA
A steep road race in extremely unpredictable weather.
Mount Washington is the highest peak in New Hampshire, with 11,5% elevation. It can be like summer at the start of the race, and like winter at the 6288-foot summit. Snow, ice, fog, wind, and cold make the race extra challenging and sometimes even dangerous.
The 7.6-mile Mt. Washington Auto Road race attracts Olympic athletes, Boston marathon champions, and the best mountain running specialists in the world.
21 JULY 2018: MADISON MARATHON, MONTANA, USA
the Highest Road Marathon on Planet Earth. A race at 9,250 feet on a good quality gravel road under the Big Sky of Montana.
Just 13 US-states have mountain peaks higher than this starting line. You are almost guaranteed to get a Personal Worst (PW), because of the high elevation and the 4 to 5-mile uphills and downhills that never dip below 8,500 feet. And you won’t care about getting a PW because this marathon really is all about the experience.
There are only 200 spots, and it’s one of the American marathons that sell out each year.
The Madison Marathon and Big Sky Marathon are scheduled as back-to-back races, two days on a row. Anyone who can do a Double Marathon at such a high altitude is a bad ass!
16 SEPTEMBER 2018: MARATHON DE LAS FLORES MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA
Located in the middle of the Americas, Medellin is a Colombian city in the department of Antioquia in one of many valleys in the Andean Region. With a population of about 2.4 million inhabitants, it is the second most populated city in the country and the 11th city of the South American continent.
The Medellín Flowers Marathon is a pioneer of the great street races in Colombia, to promote street athletics in the country. The first marathon was held in the city of Medellín 22 years ago, when participants did only one-third marathon. Only a hundred spectators attended. The Medellin Marathon has evolved significantly since then. Today it counts on 15 thousand participants in four distances (42K, 21K, 10K, 5K), for all levels.
17-24 OCTOBER 2018: COME TO GALAPAGOS MARATHON, GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, SOUTH AMERICA
The fifth annual Come to Galapagos Marathon will be held as a private event for international runners, each of whom sponsors a local runner by paying for their entrance fee and optionally sending them running gear before or bringing it with them. The event will be open to international runners who also participate in the Come to Galapagos Marathon Tour Package, which includes an 11-day trip to enjoy the best of what the Galapagos got to offer.
Race distances to choose from: marathon (42.2K/26.2 miles) and half marathon (21.1K/13.1 miles)
Your bilingual Galapagos National Park guide will be available dawn to dusk for whatever you may need. He/she has a thorough knowledge of the geology, biology, and history, as well as the experience of living on the Galapagos. Make the most of your time, whether it’s iguana watching, giant tortoise, sunset viewing, snorkeling or relaxing in a hammock and enjoy the local food.
11 NOVEMBER 2018: ATHENS MARATHON, GREECE
The traditional story relates that Pheidippides (530 BC–490 BC) was sent to Sparta to request help when the Persians landed at Marathon, Greece. He ran about 240 km (150 mi) in 36 hours. He then ran the 40 km (25 mi) from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) with the word νικῶμεν (“We have won”), to then collapse and die, probably from exhaustion and dehydration and lack of fuel.
To honor Pheidippides, the Marathon was initiated. It was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921, with an official distance of 42.195 kilometers (26 miles and 385 yards).
The Athens Marathon, which is held every year in November, still follows the route from Marathon to Athens, though not exactly the way Pheidippides ran it. The course includes 20 km of hills and even steep elevation.
Apart from the full marathon, there’s a 10 and 5 km distance to choose from.
1 APRIL 2018: ALEXANDER THE GREAT INTERNATIONAL MARATHON, GREECE
This race in Thessaloniki connects the past with the present, crossing within 42 km over 2.500 years of Macedonian history and Hellenism. Run from past to present, along remains of the Royal Palaces, tombs and golden treasures and discover Alexander’s the Great Heritage.
The International Marathon “ALEXANDER THE GREAT” refers to the route Pella-Thessaloniki.
Pella is the ancient capital of Macedonia and the birthplace of the great Commander, whereas Thessaloniki is the modern Hellenic metropolis of Macedonia and the second largest city of Greece. It was founded in 316 BC and named after the sister of Alexander the Great.
The International Marathon is a member of the International Marathons Association (AIMS) and has the Bronze IAAF Marathon road race label. Apart from the full Marathon distance, you can join a 5K and 10K race.
28 APRIL 2018: ULTRA MILANO-SANREMO 175-mile, ITALY
Europe’s longest point-to-point road ultra marathon is beautiful from the first 75 miles, winding through the Italian countryside and authentic farming towns, to the “mountain,” a 25-mile journey up and down the “Passo del Turchino,” to the absolutely stunning final 75 miles hugging the Italian Riviera.
While the temperatures are typically moderate (50s and 60s), and the terrain is basically flat (considering the distance), it’s a huge challenge to run 175 miles nonstop, within two days.It’s not the right race for people who’re quite new to ultrarunning.
10 JUNE 2018: COMRADES MARATHON, SOUTH AFRICA
The Comrades Marathon in South-Africa is world’s oldest and largest Ultramarathon, with a history and tradition comparable to the Boston Marathon.
An Ultra Marathon run over a distance of 87.7K (56.1mi), between the coastal city of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, the capital of the Kwazulu-Natal Province.
The race alternates yearly between the “up run” from Durban and the “down run” from Pietermaritzburg.
27 JANUARY 2018: HONG KONG 100, HONG KONG
The Vibram® Hong Kong 100 is an ultra endurance point-to-point race, that takes place every year in January. The 100km course starts in Pak Tam Chung on the Sai Kung Peninsula and covers some of the most beautiful scenery in Hong Kong, including remote and unspoiled beaches, ancient forests, nature trails, reservoirs and steep hills.
The course is based around Hong Kong’s famous Maclehose Trail, but with some diversions to ensure that runners spend more time in its most scenic sections, as well as finishing with the descent from Hong Kong’s highest peak (Tai Mo Shan).
It includes a cumulative elevation gain of over 4500 meters. The cut-off time is 32 hours.
The race is part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT), and kicks off every year these series of ultra races around the globe. It’s also a qualifying race for the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB).
With everyone’s generous donations, HK$701,807 has been raised for various charities in 2017: HK$215,220 to Blind Sports Hong, HK$288,587 to Food Angel, HK$120,000 to Free to Run and HK$80,000 to Hong Kong Breast Cancer Fund.
8 APRIL 2018: PYONGYANG MARATHON NORTH-KOREA
2018 will be the fifth year that the Pyongyang Marathon (or Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon) is open to foreign amateur runners. A unique chance to get to know one of the world’s most mysterious countries.
You can run the 10k, half or full marathon.
All three of these races follow the same course, which is fully recognized by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations).
For 2017 the race is a return course through the city center. Runners will go past many of the iconic buildings, monuments, and streets of Pyongyang, before heading out into the countryside, just outside the urban center, before running back again.
This new route, which is IAAF bronze label certified, gives runners the chance to see more of the capital than in previous years, and also allows more interaction with people along the course, as it includes more parts of the city than ever before. All races will start and finish inside Kim Il Sung Stadium, in front of a Korean crowd of max 50,000 people.
All non-Korean participants are required to enter the country as part of an organized tour group.
Just a few thousand people are granted entry to the DPRK every year, and tourists compose only a fraction of this number. Taking part in the Pyongyang Marathon via an organized tour is a great opportunity to be able to visit North-Korea.
END OF 2018: IRAN MARATHON, IRAN (date to be confirmed)
In modern times the marathon has become a symbol of peace. Men from different nations run together in unity!
This new marathon is about much more than running. Runners and supporters from more than 50 countries will attend this race to discover the Persian culture, history and food. Together they will enjoy, eat, discuss and celebrate.
This first Iran marathon intends to open New Horizons and make a better future.
Iran’s barring of women from spectating and participating in sporting events has been a controversial topic, particularly in the recent case of Ghoncheh Ghavami, a British-Iranian law student who was jailed for attempting to watch a volleyball match. But in contrary to last year, women are allowed to participate in this second edition!
The race will be held in Tehran, the capital of Iran. All 1000 participants will finish at the colossal Azadi stadium which can host an impressive 90.000 people. The route is flat but high altitude (1100 m average). Distances you can choose from are the marathon (42.2K), half marathon (21.1K), 10K and 1K.
Finishers are honored at the palace of Darius the Great, the king who ruled the Persian empire at its peak.
6-7 APRIL 2019: AUSTRALIAN RUNNING FESTIVAL, CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (date to be confirmed)
The Canberra Marathon is a yearly held race in the capital of Australia since 1976. It is Australia’s most historic city marathon. The festival is held on a circuit around old Parliament house and beautiful Lake Burley Griffin. Race distances are offered for all kind of runners starting from 5K.
The Australian Running Festival gives participants the opportunity to go ‘beyond the marathon’ and compete in a 50K Ultra Marathon. This option is popular with ultra runners seeking a fast course, marathon runners seeking to step up to ultra race and participants training for events like the Comrades Marathon.
The Ultra Marathon is a selection race for the IAU 50K World Trophy race and is certified with the IAU bronze label.
BIGGEST ROAD RACES IN THE WORLD
Oldest consecutively run annual road race in the world
To revive the local spirit after San Francisco’s devastating earthquake and big fire in 1906, the San Francisco Bay to Breakers event was initiated in May 1912.
In 1986 it was noted as the biggest road race by Guinness Book of Records.
The race is famous for its party atmosphere with music and crazy costumes, and the Finish Line Festival.
Although the police had to arrest some drunk people the last few years, it’s still one of the most popular races.
The 12K course from the bay to the ocean breakers on the other side of town includes the infamous Hayes Hill with a max incline of 11%.
The world’s largest road race
Being inspired by the San Francisco Bay to Breakers, the Sun Herald City2Surf started in 1971 in Sydney, Australia.
The 14K race grew steadily and in 2014 it was the largest Road Running Race in the world: 67,527 runners crossed the finish line.
The course starts in Hyde Park and follows the coastline until Bondi Beach.
One of their reasons for success is the Charity Program. Like the London Marathon, participants can choose from a list of high profile Australian charities to run and raise funds for.
It makes people feel extra involved, by making a difference and giving back. In 2014 they raised $4,446,949 for more than 650 charities.
The Sun Herald City2Surf is known as a Fun Run. Participants dress up in the color of the charity they support or in other funny costumes.
Unlike other sports, amateurs and elite athletes can both participate in the same races. It is also this uniting power that makes running events so popular.
In January 2015 the Run Kerala Run was organized in India, to express the state’s unity and solidarity with the January 31-February 14 National Games. It was the biggest mass run ever held in the country.
Thousands of educational institutions, residents associations and corporate agencies registered for this historic event.
The Kerala government gave a one-hour break to its employees to let them take part in the run.
Sportspersons, film stars, cultural personalities, politicians, government employees, teachers and students lined up in over 10.000 locations throughout the state, to cover a distance of 200 or 800 meters.
The capital Trivandrum had an official participation of 1.23 million (apart from the other locations), which would make it the world’s largest road race, according to Wikipedia.
Until now, the Run for the Pasig River in Manila, Philippines, on 10 October 2010, still holds the official Guinness Book Record for the biggest road race, with 116,086 participants.
The Run for the Pasig River (a 3K, 5K, and 1K race) funds the river clean up, a project that started in 2009 to revive Manila’s waterways, after residents started dumping their waste in it.
While the rehabilitation program is a long process, those who have seen the initial results are impressed, if not inspired.
Three of the six World Marathon Majors are held in the USA: Boston Marathon and Chicago.
The Chicago Marathon became World’s Largest Certified Sustainable Running Event in 2014. As it is the second largest Marathon in the world with 40,659 participants in 2014, this is a big step forward in making running more green.
The Marathon was noted for having all participant T-shirts made from 100 percent recycled polyester fibers, holding their fitness expo at a certified sustainable convention center, and for having more than 60 volunteers dedicated to overseeing material collection and waste diversion at the event.
Largest race in the world in 2014
Run Kerala Run
Run for the Pasig River
Guinness World Record: Most participants in racing event
Chicago Marathon: World’s Largest Certified Sustainable Running Event
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Whether you like mountains or forest, desert or jungle…
you’ll find a race for you in
THE RACE ADVENTURES GUIDE!
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