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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 June 2, 2020

                                                                  8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                                                                  8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                                                                  The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

                                                                  Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

                                                                  Thus, today’s article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question, “why is goal setting important”.

                                                                  1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

                                                                  It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

                                                                  But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

                                                                  Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

                                                                  Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

                                                                  “Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

                                                                  And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

                                                                  Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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                                                                  So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

                                                                  2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

                                                                  Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

                                                                  You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

                                                                  Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

                                                                  Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

                                                                  So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

                                                                  3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

                                                                  A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

                                                                  But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

                                                                  Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

                                                                  Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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                                                                  So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

                                                                  4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

                                                                  This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

                                                                  Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

                                                                  What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

                                                                  This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

                                                                  If you want to learn about some of the golden rules for goal setting that will help you set and achieve your goals successfully check out this article: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

                                                                  So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

                                                                  5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

                                                                  This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

                                                                  What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

                                                                  The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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                                                                  Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

                                                                  So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

                                                                  6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

                                                                  Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

                                                                  For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

                                                                  A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

                                                                  Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

                                                                  So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

                                                                  7. Goals Make You Feel Good

                                                                  Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

                                                                  Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

                                                                  Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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                                                                  If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

                                                                  So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

                                                                  8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

                                                                  I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

                                                                  Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

                                                                  Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

                                                                  There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

                                                                  Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

                                                                  So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest!

                                                                  Final Thoughts

                                                                  These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

                                                                  If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

                                                                  Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

                                                                  More Tips About Goals Setting

                                                                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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