To a runner, there’s no better way to see the world — and experience the great outdoors — than time spent laced up in running shoes. Running can be transportation, a way to tour a new city, time to relax in nature, a new physical challenge and so much more.
All these great reasons to run are why road racing (running on a paved surface) has dramatically increased in popularity in recent years. In the U.S. alone in 2013, more than 1,100 marathon-distance races (26.2 miles) saw more than 541,000 finishers, according the Running U.S.A. — a record high.
Of course, road racing isn’t limited to the continental United States. Marathons are run on all seven continents (yes, including Antarctica), in Siberia, under the midnight sun of Norway and across the greatest cities in the world.
Runners are notorious for planning their seasonal “goal” races months or even years in advance, whether they aim to trot through a Thanksgiving 5K or chase an elusive Boston Marathon qualifying time.
It’s no wonder, then, that so many have dream “bucket list” races on their mind. After all, there are hundreds of incredible races around the world.
In the U.S., a top race for these road-running dreamers is the Big Sur Marathon, held every spring (next on April 26, 2015) along the stunning California coast. It has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful marathons in the world — one reason why entries sell out in less than an hour. As running legend and Runner’s World Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso said, “If we were told we could only run one marathon in our lifetime, Big Sur would have to be it.”
Great Wall Marathon
Falling somewhere between a road race and a trail run, the Great Wall Marathon takes runners on a 26.2-mile journey through China’s Great Wall, a race that also includes scaling 4,000 steps, according to race organizers.
Self-billed as “the most-challenging marathon in the world,” the annual race has been held since 1998. More than 2,500 runners took on the challenge in 2014. The Great Wall Marathon is part of a series of “adventure marathons” that occur in exotic, challenging locations around the world (such as an Arabian desert and the polar circle).
In exchange for a long road to get there and a tough physical challenge, you’ll get stunning views of China’s Tianjin province, plus the satisfaction of knowing your marathon race route can be seen from space.
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source: Weather Ventures by Annie Hauser