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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 10, 2019

                                                                  7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                                                                  7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                                                                  Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

                                                                  Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

                                                                  This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

                                                                  One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

                                                                  Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

                                                                  Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

                                                                  1. Gratitude

                                                                  Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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                                                                  The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

                                                                  Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

                                                                  So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

                                                                  Gratitude-Quotes

                                                                    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

                                                                    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

                                                                    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

                                                                    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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                                                                    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

                                                                    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

                                                                    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

                                                                    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

                                                                    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

                                                                    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

                                                                    write down goals

                                                                      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

                                                                      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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                                                                      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

                                                                      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

                                                                      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

                                                                      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

                                                                      6. Rise Earlier

                                                                      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

                                                                      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

                                                                      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

                                                                      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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                                                                      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

                                                                      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

                                                                      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

                                                                      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

                                                                      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

                                                                      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

                                                                      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

                                                                      Reference

                                                                      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
                                                                      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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