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The World’s 26.2 Most Awesome Marathons Will Inspire You to Start Training

The World’s 26.2 Most Awesome Marathons Will Inspire You to Start Training

Whether running a marathon is something you’re itching to check off your bucket list or you’re already an accomplished runner, these amazing races will make you want to lace up and start putting in some miles. There are races nearly everywhere these days – here are some of the world’s best marathons.

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              1. The Boston Marathon, Boston, MA (April)

              Despite tragedy and heartbreak, this marathon remains beloved by runners. You’ve got to be quick, though – to get a lottery spot to enter the Boston Marathon, you’ve got to complete an approved marathon within a specified amount of time, calculated based on your age (these races are known as “BQs,” for “Boston Qualifiers”). If you’re only hoping to run a marathon once, Boston’s out of your league – but it’s still an amazing spot to stand and cheer. Experienced racer? Well then you already know all about this one!

              2. Athens Classic Marathon, Athens, Greece (November)

              This is as close to the original marathon as you’re likely to get, because you’re literally running the 26.2 miles from Marathon (hence the name!) to Athens traced by the soldier Pheidippides back in 490 BC as he delivered the message that the Greeks had defeated the Persians.

              3. The Great Wall Marathon, Huangyaguan, China (May)

              Running a marathon is no easy feat. Running a marathon during which you climb more than 5,000 steps? Okay, it might be crazy. But running a race atop the Great Wall of China, one of the 7 Manmade Wonders of the World, is definitely going to get you serious bragging rights. In addition to running the Great Wall, racers also make their way through rural villages.

              4. Wineglass Marathon, Corning, NY (October)

              If you’re looking for a flat and fast BQ, the Wineglass Marathon is definitely one to look up. Run through beautiful fall foliage as you wind your way through the Finger Lakes from Bath to Corning, NY. America’s “Crystal City” is home to the historic Corning glass factory, hence the unique medal for this race – handmade glass. Plus you get to toast yourself at the finish line with a commemorative wine glass and mini bottle of bubbly!

              5. Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV (November)

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                  All of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon events are organized and well-run, but Vegas is special for four little words: The Strip at night. Yup, one side of Las Vegas Boulevard actually gets shut down, and you get to see Sin City at its gaudiest. There’s also entertainment throughout the course (Snoop Dogg is the headliner at this year’s race). Another bonus: It’s possibly the one marathon you’ll find that you don’t have to get up super-early to run!

                  6. Big Sur International Marathon, Big Sur, CA (April)

                  If the headwinds and hill climbs don’t take your breath away, the scenery will. This marathon travels along Highway 1 from Big Sur to Carmel, passing through redwood forests, across gorges, and past astonishing views of the Pacific Ocean. Though the marathon is capped at 4,500 runners, there are also several shorter races held the same day.

                  7. Asics LA Marathon, Los Angeles, CA (March)

                  They say nobody walks in LA, but every year thousands run it, on a scenic course that goes from from Dodgers Stadium to Santa Monica. Angelenos turn out in full force to cheer them on, too – spectators are known to outnumber participants at a ratio of 40 to 1!

                  8. Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Chicago, IL (October)

                  This supersize marathon hosts a whopping 45,000 runners, but the Windy City is at its most hospitable cheering them on. The fast and flat course winds through pretty much every Chicago neighborhood, with fantastic architecture and historic landmarks abounding. Plus, you can motivate yourself to keep going by promising yourself a post-run slice of deep-dish pizza.

                  9. Marathon Du Medoc, Bordeaux, France (September)

                  It’s the marathon equivalent of a fun run – well, the fanciest fun run you can imagine. Each year, the Marathon Du Medoc has a theme, and nearly all runners dress in appropriate costumes as they traverse the scenic course, which includes stops along the way for 20+ wine tastings and just as many food stands. You won’t run a PR here (the race’s logo is a wine-besotted runner), but that’s not the idea, anyway.

                  10. Virgin Money London Marathon, London, England (April)

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                              Part of the World Marathon Majors Series, this flat, fast course is a tour of London. You’ll run over London Bridge, past Big Ben and Parliament, and finish at Buckingham Palace.

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                              11. Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, Pittsburgh, PA (May)

                              This BQ takes you all around the Steel City, traversing five bridges as you cross all three rivers and tour its historic neighborhoods. Though the course is a bit hilly, the last 5 miles are all downhill – and the city’s sports fans line the streets, encouraging you to finish strong.

                              12. Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (January)

                              If you’re looking for a destination marathon, Dubai is definitely a spot to go big. The fast and flat course starts and ends at the world’s tallest building (the Burj Khalifa), and if a runner breaks a world record, he or she wins a million dollars (it’s also the “world’s richest race”).

                              13. Kaiser Permanente Colfax Marathon, Denver, CO (May)

                              Looking for an altitude challenge? The Mile-High City has got you covered. Colfax Avenue is the longest continuous commercial street in the U.S., so you’re on the same road for almost the entire race (except when the course takes awesome detours, like running through Mile High Stadium) with locals cheering you the whole way.

                              14. Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, Napa, CA (March)

                              This race could be described as an intimate, romantic marathon – just you and 2,299 other runners, winding your way through the vineyards of California Wine Country. After the first few miles of rolling hills, it’s a mainly downhill course, making it a great choice for marathon newbies.

                              15. TCS New York City Marathon, New York, NY (November)

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                                          Why run this marathon? Because it’s New Yawk, fuhgeddaboutit! But seriously, the largest marathon in the U.S. is a pretty amazing way to see all five boroughs of the Big Apple. Racing with a charity-focused team ups your chances of getting picked in the lottery.

                                          16. Big Five Marathon, Limpopo, South Africa (June)

                                          Destination marathons don’t get much more exotic than this. Named for the “big five” game species in South Africa (lions, leopards, Rhinos, Cape buffalo, and African elephants), the race goes through the privately-owned Entabeni Game Reserve. The start time and the exact route depend on the location of the animals, making the race a safari on foot.

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                                          17. Missoula Marathon, Missoula, MT (July)

                                          Another small town BQ, this point-to-point race was developed by the organization Run Wild Montana, who wanted to share the state’s beauty with other runners. It worked! This race has racked up accolades from runners around the world and become a favorite community event.

                                          18.Utah Valley Marathon, Provo, UT (June)

                                          Looking to add another state to your list? Don’t overlook Utah! This BQ course takes you downhill from Wallsburg to Provo, past spectacular views of waterfalls, rolling hills, and canyons. It’s capped at 2,000 runners, so register early (it’s also worth mentioning that registration is quite inexpensive as marathons go – under $100 until 2 months before the event).

                                          19. Cane Growers Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia (November)

                                          Don’t get too excited for cool temperatures – remember, it’s summer in the southern hemisphere. Still, starting on a beach, racing through sugar cane plantations, and running alongside rainforest make this run Down Under a fantastic destination marathon.

                                          20. Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris, Paris, France (April)

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                                                      If you want a less wine-filled way to run France, the Paris International Marathon takes runners along the Seine and past the Bastille, the Louvre, and the Place de la Concorde, with the course finishing (naturally) at the Arc de Triomphe. It’s a huge field (as many as 40,000 entrants), but it’s an amazing way to see one of the world’s greatest cities.

                                                      21. SPAR Budapest Marathon, Budapest, Hungary (October)

                                                      Want to run a European marathon that’s a little bit off the beaten path, but still in a major city? Don’t overlook the Budapest Marathon, which features a fast, flat course that takes you along the Danube River.

                                                      22. Walt Disney World Marathon, Orlando, FL (January)

                                                      If you’ve got kids or you’re a kid at heart, you’ll love this destination race which takes you through the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios… you’ll even run through Cinderella’s castle! This race offers nonstop visual wonders (think parade floats and circus acts), not to mention all your favorite Disney characters and princesses cheering you on. The marathon starts and ends at Epcot – it really is a small world, after all.

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                                                      23. Mississippi Blues Marathon, Jackson, MS (January)

                                                      This sweet little marathon (less than 1,000 runners) boasts enormous charm, with live blues musicians entertaining runners throughout the course. Plenty of locals come out to share some Southern hospitality and cheer on the runners, too!

                                                      24. Mount Desert Island Marathon, Bar Harbor, ME (October)

                                                      Spectacular coastal views can be found on the east coast, too. This BQ takes runners through quaint New England villages, and you’ll also run on the Atlantic Coast’s only true fjord. The rocky trails do slow things down, but they also make this marathon more about camaraderie than competition.

                                                      25. Honolulu Marathon, Honolulu, HI (December)

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                                                                  And speaking of spectacular views! This Oahu marathon starts in Ala Moana Beach Park, then takes you through Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, Hawaii Kai, and more. Though the race has an extra-early start time (5 am), it does help runners avoid the heat and humidity – and leaves plenty of time to kick back and relax at the post-race luau.

                                                                  26. Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, Cincinnati, OH (May)

                                                                  Said you’ll run a marathon “when pigs fly”? Cincinnati’s calling your bluff! The perfect event for newbies, the Flying Pig is designed to be a fun, laid-back race. Spectators are encouraged to do everything they can – from cheering to making fun signs to juggling – to boost runners’ spirits and keep everyone smiling.

                                                                  26.2. The Color Run

                                                                  It’s not a marathon, but that’s why it’s the “.2” in this marathon list! “The Happiest 5K on the Planet” takes place in more than 30 countries, with over 170 different events. Runners begin the race wearing white, and end up doused in multi-colored paint. See www.thecolorrun.com to find a race near you.

                                                                  Featured photo credit: soozed via flickr.com

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                                                                  Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                                                                  7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                                                                  7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                                                                  Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                                                                  Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                                                                  1. Exercise Daily

                                                                  It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                                                                  If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                                                                  Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                                                                  If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                                                                  2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                                                                  Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                                                                  One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                                                                  This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                                                                  3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                                                                  Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                                                                  Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                                                                  Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                                                                  4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                                                                  Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                                                                  The basic nutritional advice includes:

                                                                  • Eat unprocessed foods
                                                                  • Eat more veggies
                                                                  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                                                                  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                                                                  Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                                                                    5. Watch Out for Travel

                                                                    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                                                                    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                                                                    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                                                                    6. Start Slow

                                                                    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                                                                    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                                                                    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                                                                    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                                                                    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                                                                    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                                                                    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                                                                    Final Thoughts

                                                                    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                                                                    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                                                                    More Tips on Getting in Shape

                                                                    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

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