When your weekly park runs aren’t challenging enough anymore and you really could use a change of scenery, it’s time to search beyond your neighborhood and challenge yourself in a place located outside of your comfort zone. Here’s a list of the some of the best marathons and half marathons taking place this year in the U.S. and abroad. These races will not only challenge you, they will inspire you!
- Austin Marathon, Half Marathon, & 5K: On Sunday, February 18th, you can enjoy running through green, tree-lined parks, crossing bridges over the Colorado River, and trekking through Austin’s city streets and neighborhoods. See many of the city’s notable sights and attractions along the way, including the Texas State Capitol building and the University of Texas campus. Expect to race in moderately cool weather conditions during a typical mid-winter season, with little to no chance of rain. This race offers runners a 200-foot climb in elevation of the course of the race, ending at just over 500 feet above sea level. Learn more here: https://youraustinmarathon.com.
- Run in the “Valley of the Mastodons” at the annual late winter running of the Diamond Valley Lake Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K & 1K which takes place along the edges of the California’s Diamond Valley Lake reservoir in Hemet, on March 3rd. The site of many paleontological fossil finds, including mammoths and mastodons that date back to the Pleistocene era, this 4,500-acre reservoir lies between two mountain ranges in the valley. It is home to some of Southern California’s most sought after recreational, cold and warm water fishing. While the course features some slightly rolling hills, it is largely an even course for the 13.1 mile race, with terrain that consists mostly of hard packed dirt roads, with some loose sand and gravel along the way. This year’s race is sponsored by Habitat for Humanity. Learn more here: http://dvlrun.com.
- Looking to hit the ground running overseas? Sign up to race the Maratona di Roma on April 8th and discover Rome’s hidden treasures and architectural wonders. From the Vatican to the Colosseum, take in amazing ancient ruins and then enjoy some delicious pasta once you cross the finish line. Learn more here: https://www.maratonadiroma.it/?!a/=/home-en/.
- Experience the beauty of Britain when you register to race in the Pembrokeshire marathon. As Britain’s only coastal National Park, Pembrokeshire offers a challenging course where contenders can enjoy running along coastal paths in Wales and on the east and west coasts of England. This race heads up rugged cliffs, alongside pristine sandy beaches, and past hidden coves. With some daunting climbs on this run, runners enjoy epic descents as well and the most glorious ocean views. Learn more here: https://www.endurancelife.com/pembrokeshire.
- Coming up on Memorial Day weekend for its 12th annual, family friendly event, Honolulu’s Hibiscus Half Marathon takes place in Hawaii’s capital city and benefits the Hawaiian chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On Sunday, May 27th, this event will feature a half marathon for runners and a 15K event for walkers, and both races begin at the starting line located at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki Beach.
Sprinters will make their way around the city’s major attractions, such as the Honolulu Zoo and Kapiolani Park. Those participating can enjoy the temperate climate of the southern shoreline of the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, which can range from an average low of 70 degrees to an average high of 86 degrees on race day. Learn more here: https://www.active.com/honolulu-hi/running/distance-running-races/hibiscus-half-marathon-15k-and-5-miler-2018.
- Test your limits when you take part in the Grand Teton Half Marathon, which takes place on June 2nd, in Jackson, Wyoming. This race is set to take runners on a high-elevation, point to point climb through Wyoming’s Jackson Hole area, where they will cross the Snake River twice and finish within sight of the majestic Teton Mountain range, just south of the famed national park.
While the first four-mile stretch is mostly flat, runners hit the first hill around the fifth mile marker along the Teton Pass Highway. From that point forward, contenders will enjoy a slow but steady climb over the next several miles. Runners will be at 6,350 feet as they approach this race’s midpoint, making the elevation the real challenge of this course, which is higher than most U.S. cities. However, the payoff is said to be the breathtaking views, with the incredible Tetons off in the distance. Learn more here: https://vacationraces.com/half-marathons/grand-teton/.
- If you are looking to really see what you’re made of and are itching to stamp that passport, go for an ultimate, bucket list runner’s challenge: The Great Wall Marathon. That’s right, this race takes place along the Great Wall of China on May 19th. Don’t expect to reach a new personal best for time – this incredible, yet grueling route takes the average runner twice as long to complete as usual, due to the amount of climbing involved – a colossal 5,164 steps! The amazing scenery and crowds are said to make it worth every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears! Learn more here: https://great-wall-marathon.com/?gclid=CMa9leq8xdQCFdS4GwodeZQCxg.
- Run along a tour of the park that hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics when you sign up to race the Lake Placid Marathon & Half Marathon in Lake Placid, New York. Enjoy perfect summer weather in the Adirondacks on June 10th, where more than 2,000 runners will be competing. Set in the picturesque Adirondack Mountains, the course includes flat stretches combined with a number of moderate uphills and downhills, as well as a few steep climbs in elevation. Runners will enjoy impeccable views of nearby Whiteface Mountain and will trek past the Mirror Lake waterfront. Learn more here: http://www.lakeplacidmarathon.com.
- The Glacier Half Marathon takes place on June 16th in East Glacier Village, Montana. This rewarding yet challenging half marathon will begin just outside of Glacier National Park. Enjoy stunning views and get immersed in magnificent nature. Turn this race into an epic vacation with gorgeous hikes through the most beautiful place on earth. Learn more here: https://vacationraces.com/half-marathons/glacier/.
- The New York City Marathon takes place on November 4th. This is another one to cross off the bucket list. Take a jaunt around the city that never sleeps and bask in the support of the cheering, happy crowds that line the city’s magical streets. Revel in the spirit of this race, with a course that takes runners from all over the globe through various neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Learn more here: https://www.tcsnycmarathon.org.
No matter where your feet take you this year, make every step count. Incorporate your passion into everything you do and everywhere you go. Explore on foot and gain the best experience while creating new memories. On your mark, get set, go!