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.”
Patagonia International Marathon
Pick your race distance: This race boasts everything from an ultramarathon to a 10K, all entirely inside Torres del Paine National Park in the Chilean Patagonia.
Along the race route, which is a lightly graveled road, runners see “mountains of ice and granite … multicolored lakes and wildlife,” according to race organizers. Plus, for every runner, a tree is planted in the park. (The race is meant to raise awareness for conservation of Patagonia.) Because it’s environmentally minded, don’t expect to see mounds of paper cups littering the route like you do at other races; each runner is expected to carry his or her own water.
Beyond stunning scenery and a feel-good environmental mission, the race offers sometimes-punishing wind and other climatic factors, ensuring runners feel like superheroes when they cross the finish line.
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source: Weather Ventures by Annie Hauser