The Great Wall Marathon in China

Want to run a marathon on one of the Seven Wonders of the world? The Great Wall Marathon is waiting for you. With its 5164 steps, the marathon of the Chinese wall is one of the toughest races in the world (especially for calves), but also one of the most spectacular!

The Great Wall of China formerly was approximately 6000 km long. Fortunately, this race only takes a small portion of it – but what a portion! Most of the marathon is in the shade of ancient fortifications, among rice paddies and remote villages of the traditional region of Huangyaguan. This section of the Wall barely exceeds 3.5 km but is used twice on this race. That means the ascension of 5164 steep steps ; as a result the impressive defensive fortification winding through the mountains offers a view that consitutes a welcome distraction.

The race takes place in May. Individual participation is not allowed : you must register as part of a package tour.
Official website

Loch Ness Marathon in Scotland

Loch Ness is one of the best-known destinations throughout the world. Its beautiful scenery and the centuries-old mystery have attracted millions of visitors. But I’m not going to lie to you: you will not have as much spectators along the road: it is way too isolated and Nessie hasn’t come yet to attract tourists. Yet, you might spot some deers, eagles and squirrels along the way. Undulating fields, wide valleys and shimmering lakes form the backdrop of the race. In others words, what you lose on support you gain on the beauty of the landscape -and best of all- most of the route is downhill although this marathon takes place in the Highlands. Last but not least, you will also enjoy bagpipers in kilts that punctuate the road at some strategic locations to motivate you with some music.

Loch Ness Marathon runners

loch ness marathon musicians

Credits: official website

Race start: Septembre 27th. For further information, visit the Official website

Reggae Marathon in Jamaica

Welcome in Negril, Jamaica’s capital of casual where marathoners, as well as beginners, converge for a fun race characterized by good vibes and lots of Reggae music.

You can trust Jamaicans to transform a painful effort into a real celebration. A picturesque road, bordered by the sea and palm trees, punctuated not only by water supply points, but also by percussion players, reggae bands and DJ booths that help you keep up. Between sport and carnival, the festive atmosphere begins as soon as the race begin. It starts at 5.15 am and the average temperature is 70 degrees F. The aim for the athletes is to finish the race before the sun reaches its zenith. The Finish Line Beach affords everyone a delightful opportunity to relax with special offerings, typical food and entertainment.

Race start : December 5th 2015.
Official website

Athens Authentic Marathon

The very first of all the marathons. His path retraces the journey of Pheidippides from the city of Marathon to Athens. He was a messenger who run as fast as he could to announce the Greek victory over the Persians in 490BC. A few hours later he died of exhaustion. Nowadays, the race seems almost as difficult: it takes place on paved road but retains a rough ripple. Therefore, the Original Course is only intended for elite athletes.

The finish line is in the Panathenaic Stadium, a site that has been restored for the 1896 Olympics.

panathenaic stadium
The competition holds in November. The registration is limited to 12 000 participants and opened in January
Official website

Antarctic ice marathon

Described as “the final great wilderness to be conquered”, the antarctic ice marathon hosts each year ultra athletes that are looking for the next big challenge.

Tough for the legs -and the purse-, this race located on the White Continent costs €11,400 to each participant. This is the price to pay for the privilege of being one of the 40 souls allowed on the site. The conditions are particularly tough: the snowy path is prepared for less slippery and checked to avoid crevasses, but it is still backbreaking. On top of this: I let you imagine the effect of the altitude (about 1.000m), negative temperatures and katabatic winds. Good luck! However, running a vast virginal expanse, where the only sound is the sound of your steps on the snow, is truly a breathtaking experience -literally and figuratively-.

Date: November 2016
Official website

Featured image: Jane Embury