The National Guard
This past Monday, the Abroad101 team was able to take a break from computer screens and office duties to play in the sunshine and watch runners from around the world compete in the Boston Marathon. This 26.2 mile stretch holds rough terrain, including “heartbreak hill” as runners near the end. This marathon isn’t for the faint of heart and got us thinking about what marathons look like around the world. After seeing some CRAZY spots for a marathon, Boston doesn’t look so tough anymore. Below see some of the coolest spots you’d never think to hold an extreme marathon. If you find yourself studying, or travelling to these destinations, definitely take advantage of watching their marathons and see how they compare to those in the U.S. Happy studying (running!)
The Great Wall Marathon: Wow, this looks like an amazing experience. Everyone thinks of walking the Great Wall of China, but running? That must take stamina and top physical shape. Those 5,164 steps can’t be a cakewalk (or should we say run?)
The Big Five Marathon: I’m sure you’ve always dreamed of running a marathon and going on a safari at the same time, right? Of course! Well, we’ve just conveyed how you can make your dreams come true. Ever year in South Africa, runners dash through fields of animal reserves, sometimes running right along with lions, elephants and other african wildlife. Runners also won’t find any paved roads here, increasing the level of difficulty. This Africa Marathon is no easy task!
The Polar Circle Marathon: It’s hard to decide which of these marathons is deemed the “toughest” yet running such a long distance in sub zero temperatures, over ice and through snow seems like a strong contender. Perhaps runners enjoy the endless space of beauty and silence, only the sound of snow crunching under their shoes. Maybe it gives them time to think. Hopefully about things other than how cold and tired they must be. All in all, this looks like a great place for a marathon or at least a visit.
The Solar Eclipse Marathon: On November 14, 2012 the world will witness a solar eclipse and the minute (exactly) that it passes, runners in Port Douglas, Australia will be signaled to start the race. Their run will then take them on a grand tour through beautiful beaches, crocodile creeks, sugar cane fields and golf courses. Not a bad way to spend a few hours, huh? If you’re thinking of entering however, note that you’re required to participate in more than just the race. A full accommodation and excursions ticket is also required.
The Everest Marathon: All of these marathons provide the most beautiful scenery available, yet the Everest Marathon can’t be beat. Yet running 26.2 miles (mostly downhill) through Mt. Everest in Nepal can also be seen as the toughest, simply due to climate alone. Running here will put you at 17,000 feet above sea level at the starting line. This obviously requires some major physical acclimation, so runners are asked to arrive 26 days beforehand.
We hope we’ve given you some interesting choices in which to watch, or maybe run, a marathon. If you’ve run these, or have plans to, let us know! We’d LOVE to hear all about it.