Running a 42-kilometre marathon is no mean feat. In fact, it’s an achievement for which many people will commit to years of training. So, if you’ve done all the hard work to get ready for race day, why not join your fellow athletes on one of the best marathon courses in the world?
Sparkasse 3-Länder-Marathon, Germany, Austria and Switzerland
As the name suggests, the Sparkasse 3-Länder-Marathon offers participants the unique opportunity to pass through three different countries on their quest to earn a finisher’s medal. The course starts on the lake-bound island of Lindau, in southern Germany. Runners then work their way southeast, through the Austrian towns of Lochau, Hard and Höchst, before crossing the Swiss border at St. Margrethen and finally finishing in the city of Bregenz. Despite incorporating a variety of terrain including asphalt, cobblestone and gravel, the course is fairly flat and fast. What’s more, the region’s pleasant autumn weather allows for an even more enjoyable experience on race day.
Napa Valley Marathon, United States of America
The Napa Valley Marathon tours one of the most scenic parts of the United States. The marathon, which travels the length of California’s famous Napa Valley wine-growing region, has even been voted “best road race in the country” by the Road Runners Club of America. The Napa Valley Marathon takes runners from Calistoga to downtown Napa via the picturesque Silverado Trail, enjoying stunning views of vineyards, wineries and pine forests along the way. The rural setting, combined with a 2,300 person limit, gives the Napa Valley Marathon a unique, peaceful atmosphere. Although the “no headphones” policy further reinforces this small-town vibe, the post-race celebrations can still get a little rowdy – especially since the fastest male and female both win their weight in wine!
Berlin Marathon, Germany
In late September, more than 35,000 people will undertake what is essentially a running tour of Berlin, one of the most culturally rich cities in Europe. The course begins and ends at the iconic Brandenburg Gate, with historic monuments such as the Reichstag, Berlin Cathedral, Potsdamer Platz and Tiergarten all making appearances along the way. Widely recognised as being one of the flattest and fastest courses in the world, the Berlin Marathon has witnessed no less than ten world records since its inception in 1974.
Marathon du Médoc, France
There’s nothing quite like the spectacle that hits the southwest of France in September. The Marathon du Médoc is less of a running competition and more of a street party, or a food and wine festival, or wonderful combination of both. The course takes participants through the picturesque countryside near Bordeaux, weaving through dozens of vineyards and allowing runners to guzzle their best vintages along the way. Participants will also face an onslaught of food stalls offering everything from foie gras and oysters to cheese and ice-cream; trust us when we say the Marathon du Médoc is not for the faint of heart (or stomach). However, with race day featuring over 8,000 costumed runners and local bands filling the air with festivity, the Marathon du Médoc is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
New York Marathon, United States of America
New York has never been a city to do things quietly. Today, the self-proclaimed capital of the world also hosts the largest marathon in the world, with the New York Marathon now recording over 50,000 finishers every year. Still, this figure pales in comparison to the million or so spectators who gather to watch one of the premier running events in the world. The course starts on Staten Island and works its way up through Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, before looping back down to Manhattan and finishing at the southern end of Central Park. The New York Marathon is so popular that entrants are simply selected at random from a pool of around 80,000 hopeful applicants.
Are you feeling fit and ready to race? Get a head start by finding cheap flights to your favourite marathon destination today.
Feature Image Credit: Sparkasse 3-Länder-Marathon.