Around the World in 26.2 Miles: Marathon Travel

Run off to an exotic locale — and keep running when you get there. These marathons have become destinations for athletic travelers.

By Sally Wadyka

If your idea of a dream vacation involves running, join the crowd. "The number of people traveling for marathons has increased 15 percent a year since 1979," says Thom Gilligan, president of Marathon Tours & Travel. "We’re also seeing more women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s traveling to races." Here are a few don’t-miss events for the adventurous runner.
Tokyo Marathon
Japan hosts the Tokyo Marathon each February, with a course that weaves past the Imperial Palace and through the Ginza shopping district to a waterfront finish line.
Learn more about the Tokyo Marathon›
Antarctica Marathon
You’ll loop around research stations and penguin colonies on this snow-packed course. Even with global warming, temps for the February event average 20 degrees — 10 degrees, if you factor in windchill — so pack insulated gear and glacier goggles.
Learn more about the Antarctica Marathon›
Easter Island Marathon
You can’t miss the 13-foot guide markers for this race: more than 800 volcanic ash statues, known as Moai, which have mystified archaeologists ever since the tiny South Pacific island was discovered in 1722. Plan ahead: The June event admits just 150 runners.
Learn more about the Easter Island Marathon›
Baobab Alley Marathon
Wide-eyed lemurs (60 species, in fact) and towering baobab trees are just some of the sights you’ll see along this dirt course through Madagascar, an island off the southeastern coast of Africa. The registration fee includes hotel and meals, and the proceeds are donated to a conservation program.
Learn more about the Baobab Alley Marathon›
Kenya Running Safari
It’s not a marathon, but you’ll log plenty of miles on this new Micato Safaris trip, led by John Manners, Kenya’s top running coach. Participants head out for morning and evening runs through the bush and visit training camps that have produced marathon champions.
Learn more about the Kenya Running Safari›
To go the distance closer to home, lace up for MORE Marathon, held in New York City every March.
Originally published in MORE magazine, February 2007.

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