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There are over 500 marathon races taking place each year, some of the most famous taking place outside of the UK. If you’re looking to challenge yourself further and complete a marathon abroad, get a quote for our Sports Travel Insurance for marathon running here.
The Flora London Marathon will take you past some of the world’s most famous landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. Over 30,000 people participate annually in April with the vast majority of them raising money for charity, making this marathon the world’s largest fund-raising event.
With the noticeable improvements in organisation and a bigger budget, the Paris marathon now attracts over 25,000 supports and elite runners. You will pass some of the city’s greatest sites including the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame Cathedral and receive red wine and cheese in a quintessentially French fashion.
3. New York City
This race began in 1970 with just 127 runners who paid $1 to enter but is now one of the highest profile races worldwide, attracting over 100,000 runners drawn from lottery each year. The unique appeal of the city and the vast local, entertaining crowds attract a hoard of international runners from a wide range of countries. It is watched by 315 million people on television.
This course is more challenging than others but it will all seem worth it when you cross the finish line at the Panathinaiko Staium, home of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
5. The Great Wall, China
Kill two birds with one stone by running this punishing marathon and visiting The Great Wall of China. The course takes approximately 50% longer to complete than your average marathon due to the extreme ascents and descents but the 360 degree views of the countryside and the centuries-old wall will make your efforts worth it.
This event is not on the same scale as other big city marathon’s, attracting fewer than 3000 runners but its increasingly swift course draws in the elite who look to set new records. The route is charming and very flat; the first Dutchmen to win the race set a new world record at the time in 1980, which was held for 23 years.
This reggae marathon will suit early birds due to its 5.15am start! Spirits are kept high with the reggae music at each mile, the pristine backdrop of sandy beaches and the fun local support.
Its enthusiastic crowds, efficient organisation and historic course make this course a hugely popular event, attracting over 20,000 runners in September. You will experience the contrast between the drab East and commercial West and pass grand historical architecture. Six world records have been set here since 1998.
9. South Africa
A marathon and a safari – the Big Five Marathon in Limpopo Province is a spectacle as well as an intense challenge. The difficult course climbs through the hills of Entabeni Game Reserve but runners will be rewarded with close-up views of zebras, giraffes and even lions in their natural habitat.
This is the world’s oldest marathon renowned for its fantastic crowd support and an elite field of participants. Its qualifying standards are restrictive however which retains the alluring exclusivity of the race but prohibits the masses from taking place. Attracting over 10,000 in April, this is certainly a race to support if you are not able to run!