12 Marathons for Travel Junkies Part II

Some of the best cities in the world also happen to host marathons that are worth traveling for. Runners find that the combination of the location, the history associated with the event, and the overall fun factor play a role on deciding which marathons to participate in. In the first part, I’ve highlighted those in major cities like San Francisco, Chicago and New York. On this list, we’ll not only look at those in American soil but also travel to parts of Europe and Africa. Here are more of the best marathon cities for travelers.

Best Marathon Cities for Travelers

Honolulu Marathon – Honolulu, Hawaii

Best marathon cities for travelers: Medals at Honolulu Marathon
Medals at Honolulu Marathon

Hawaii brings images of palm trees, high surf and tropical breeze and that’s exactly what you’ll get at the Honolulu Marathon. The course that begins at Ala Moana Beach Park travels through most of Oahu’s south shore and follows the path of the Pacific Ocean. It’s the perfect marathon for beginners because of its relatively flat route and no time limit requirement. Some of the attractions along the course include Diamond Head, Wailupe Beach Park, Honolulu Harbor and the famed Waikiki Beach. After the race, hydrate with fresh coconut water or a mai tai at the nearest luau and book a much deserved massage at one of the five-star accommodations in Honolulu overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

When: December 11, 2016

Napa Valley Marathon – Napa, California

Napa Valley Marathon. Best Marathon Cities
Napa Valley Marathon

The Napa Valley Marathon might not reach the scale of its cousin in San Francisco (it only has a couple of thousand runners) but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth attending. To some participants, the fact that it’s small might prove to be preferable because it will not be as crowded. Those who run for the sake of being close to nature will appreciate the rolling hills and wildflowers that line the route. Also any runners who share the love for wine will undoubtedly rank the Napa Valley Marathon one of the best marathon cities for travelers. Finally, when you cross the finish line, celebrate with a glass (or two) from some of the valley’s finest vineyards.

When: March 5, 2017

Paris Marathon – Paris, France

Paris Marathon Along Champs Elysee. Best Marathon Cities
Paris Marathon Along Champs Elysee

Paris is best seen on foot and what better way to do that than to run the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris. The 26.2-mile course follows the pathway along the Seine and passes through some of the City of Light’s most recognizable structures: Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe. Close to 40,000 people participate annually, making it not only one of the most popular but also one of the best marathon cities for travelers around the world. What’s more? Marathoners and their family and friends can feast on delicious sweets from patisseries that line up Rue de Bac upon crossing the finish line.

When: April 9, 2017

London Marathon – London, England

London Marathon Start Line. Best Marathon Cities
London Marathon Start Line

England’s capital city is always a great place to visit, which makes it one of the best marathon cities for travelers. Runners will get a chance to take the grand tour of London in just several hours as opposed to several days when they jog pass iconic sites like the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. Scenic views combined with some serious history lessons might be a bit much for some runners of the Virgin Money London Marathon, but just consider the fact that you’ll end the race at Buckingham Palace and get to enjoy the roar of the crowds typically reserved for royalty in that location. Also, you can reward yourself with a classic pint from one of the many historical pubs like the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese or the Lamb and Flag.

When: April 23, 2017

Boston Marathon – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Marathon. Best Marathon Cities
Boston Marathon

Even though it was struck by tragedy several years ago, the Boston Marathon remains one of the most prestigious race and best marathon cities for travelers in the United States and the world. Not only is it the oldest race in the United States, it’s also a highly competitive one. Qualification requirements include a previous marathon run and a time qualification based on age and gender. Held annually in the spring, runners begin the 26.2-mile course in the rural town of Hopkinton and follows Route 135 through the smaller towns of Natick and Wellesley, before ending in Boston’s Copley Square. Cap off race day with a beer from one of the city’s best taverns or head towards the waterfront to indulge on fresh seafood.

When: April 17, 2017

Big Five Marathon – Waterberg District, South Africa

Big Five Marathon Medal. Best Marathon Cities
Big Five Marathon Medal

The ultimate and quite possibly one of the best marathon cities for travelers takes place inside the Entabeni Game Reserve in the Waterberg district of South Africa. Marathon runners will get the opportunity to test their endurance and strength alongside Africa’s big five, as they traverse the tough terrain and ascend hills that aren’t meant for just anyone. The reward in participating in the Big Five Marathon however, is close-up views of giraffes, zebras, even lions.

When: June 24, 2017

About Iris A

Website: http://www.travelingwithiris.com

Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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