Life

6 Amazing Marathons Around the World

The cheering crowds, the beautiful weather, the triumph of the human spirit, the Gatorade: Nothing brings a city together quite like a marathon. With the New York Marathon in just under a week, race season is in full swing!

Marathoners are arguably some of the craziest athletes, but also the most ambitious. Some runners have completed more than 500 marathons. And some runners try to race once in every continent, which is now more doable than ever. There are more than 500 marathon races every year in cities all over the globe. For the runner with wanderlust, destination marathons combine trip and triumph. Running 26.2 miles is the coolest (and most dehydrating) way to see a new city -- or a new landscape. Why not warm up in Warsaw, jog in Jordan, or sprint in Spain? From Antarctica to Bhutan, here 6 of the most awe-inspiring foreign marathon courses.

Jerusalem

Though a young race (it was first held in 2011), this course takes you through all the ancient sites of the Israeli city. Runners jog past Parliament, Mount Scopus, and Jerusalem's Old City, through Zion Gate and Jaffa Gate, and finish at Sacher Park.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Antarctica

This race is definitely an adventure. Runners sign up for a 14-day package which includes a 3-day stay in Buenos Aires and then flight to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, the world's southernmost city, followed by a sea crossing to Antarctica's King George Island. You run past polar bears, seals, and penguins. Temperatures range from 15F to 34F (and wind chill can lower these temps by 10F). What's a little cold, though, compared to the pristine landscape?!

Image via Wikipedia

Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls serves as the backdrop for this breathtaking course. The website promises unforgettable scenery:

"The marathon race route starts in the car park outside the banks/Ilala Lodge entrance, then crosses over the Vic Falls Bridge, briefly into Zambia offering the social runner some of the most spectacular scenery in Africa, the route continues through the Zambezi National Park with some great views of the river, and ends at the Victoria Falls primary school."

Image via Christiaan Triebert via Flickr

Alexander the Great

This historic course starts in Pella, Greece, the birthplace of Alexander the Great and the capital of ancient Macedonia. The finish line is at the White Tower in Thessaloniki. The first place finisher gets an empire! Not really, but you do get a medal.

Image via Wikipedia

Venice

The course of the Venice Marathon takes you through the beautiful ancient city. You run over a series of bridges, one of which is built the night before the marathon and takes you over the Grand Canal. After crossing the finish line, runners can celebrate with pasta and gelato.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Bhutan

In this race, which starts in Punakha Dzong in northern Bhutan, you run through the valleys of the Himalayas. Cue the sounds of your mind exploding. According to the website:

"The route follows the Mo Chhu (river) through rural Punakha Valley. After leaving the rain forest area the valley will open up and you will have stunning views of the Khamsum Yulley Temple, monasteries, rice paddies, rain forest, villages and Chortens."

Note: A Chorten, like a stupa, is a mound containing Buddhist relics. That's something you won't get in Boston or NYC.

Image via Wikipedia

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