At a certain state of life it seems that running a marathon seems to be a rite of passage. People come to a moment in their lives when perhaps they want to prove to themselves that they can still endure the trials of a marathon. Marathons have become more than just a test of endurance these days. People very often place bets on marathons and it has become a spectator sport as much as a participation sport. And with so many marathons all over the world, it’s hard to know which ones are the most prestigious. While my choices are based more on my desire to travel, here are my six picks for the ultimate marathon-running year.
For me the first stop would be in February, for the Tokyo Marathon. Although it’s not the oldest and most traditional, only having been founded in 2007. While my reasons for wanting to run this marathon are simply because I’ve always wanted to go there, I’m sure the run itself would be challenging enough if all the numerous distractions to see.
Sticking with my East Asia theme, the next marathon of choice would the Great Wall Marathon in springtime in May. Another late-comer to the marathon circuit, this marathon was first run in 1999 and follows 42 kilometres along the Great Wall of China, just north of Beijing. Unlike other marathons however this one contains more than 5000 stone stairs that make it just a bit harder.
The following month, in June, is the Big Five Marathon, which is an absolute must for any marathon runner and animal lover. The marathon takes place in South Africa and is named after the big five game animals—cape buffalo, elephant, African leopard, African lion, and the rhinoceros.
After the heat of a run through the wilderness, running through Germany’s capital, Berlin, in September could prove a perfect next step to soak up a bit of Berlin’s complex and often very complicated history.
And of course what November would be complete in the runner’s calendar without the world famous New York Marathon. As the largest marathon in the world the New York marathon regularly has more than 50 000 finishers and several thousand more participants.
I’ve also participated at the Great Birmingham Run, supporting the causes of an UK charity called Penny Appeal.
And lastly, in the final month of the year comes the Honolulu Marathon. Although not quite the size of the New York marathon by number of entries the Honolulu Marathon attracts upwards of 20,000 people per year and has been held since 1973, making it one of the marathons with the most history.
And after a year of exhausting travel and demanding physical work who could not be pleased to be spending an otherwise clear and warm day in that tropical paradise running in what is not difficult to consider one of the most hospitable and lovely of climates.