5 marathon holiday destinations for the active traveller

Sep 15, 2017

As running becomes more popular, more people are going on ‘run-cations’, combining participation in marathons with holidays abroad.

1. Athens Classic Marathon, Greece

athens marathon

When: November 12, 2017

This marathon is steeped in history because it is based on the ancient tale of a military courier’s fateful run to Athens, the capital of Greece. According to legend, the messenger, Pheidippides, ran from the town of Marathon to Athens in 490BC to announce the news that the Greeks had defeated the Persian invaders. He then collapsed and died. This marathon’s course covers the same ground that he ran and ends in Athens’ Panathenaic Stadium, where the first modern Olympic Games was held in 1896.

After the marathon, runners can stay in the capital for sightseeing or treat themselves to a Greek island getaway.

SEE ALSO: How to stay fit while travelling

2. Great Wall Marathon, China

great wall marathon

When: May 19, 2018

Rough paths, sloping trails, and 5,000 gruelling steps up and down the Great Wall make this race one of the world’s most challenging. Adding to the difficulty are uneven steps. Some are tiny and some are so high, you have to jump. Thankfully, there are less arduous stretches that pass through villages, fields and farmland. The run begins and ends in Tianjin province, at the Yin and Yang Square at the fortress at the Huangyaguan section of the Great Wall.

SEE ALSO: 10 workout classes you can’t miss while travelling in Asia

Thunder Dragon Marathon, Bhutan


When: May 27, 2018

Participating in this marathon is the perfect way to enter the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and rub shoulders with the happiest people on earth.

The high-altitude route takes in the beautiful Paro Valley and iconic landmarks such as the spectacular Tiger’s Nest monastery perched on a cliff edge. The race begins and ends at Zhiwa Ling, a luxury hotel in Bhutan. After the race, runners can continue with their guided tours to soak in the country’s unspoilt beauty.