Ten of the Best Marathons in the World 

Whether you’re capable of running with the elites or are completely new to the marathon running scene, there are a great choice of marathons across the world to pick from.

If you have a passion for running, what better type of break than a fitness holiday? The achievement of conquering a new marathon, paired with some incredible down-time is an exciting combination.

After all, why run 26.2 miles in familiar surroundings when you can have the welcome distraction of the world’s best cityscapes and scenery?

Take a look at our round-up of ten awesome marathons – including half marathons – and be inspired to stick one in your diary.

London Marathon

When: April 23rd 2017 Location: London, England

It doesn’t get any more special than London Marathon. This world-famous route is regularly cited as one of the top marathons on the planet. The atmosphere is incredible, taking in famous landmarks such as Big Ben and the Tower of London.

Athens Marathon

When: November 12th 2017 Location: Athens, Greece

No list of top marathons would be complete without paying homage to the birthplace of Olympians. Earn your bragging rights by visiting Athens and running in the footsteps of the first marathon runner. If that wasn’t enough, you also finish the route in the spectacular Olympic stadium, cementing Athens’ position as one of the top marathons in the world.

Marathon De Paris

When: April 9th 2017 Location: Paris, France

The City of Love, Paris, is regularly named as one of the top European marathons, partly due to its incredible sights. The route starts on the Champs-Élysées, passing the Arc de Triomphe, and snakes along the banks of the Seine River. Along the way, runners can take in the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Running past all the landmarks in one of the most romantic cities in the world is one way of the best ways to discover the true magic of Paris in the springtime.

Boston Marathon

When: April 17th 2017 Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

With age comes prestige. Starting in 1897 and passing through eight cities and towns, this marathon deserves its crown as one of the world’s best marathons. To enter, you will have to have completed at least one marathon before, but the difficulty in qualifying only adds to the sense of achievement.

The next couple of years will be a very interesting time to visit the US, so why not drop into the capital while you’re there?

Vancouver Marathon

When: May 7th 2017 Location: Vancouver, Canada

If you need variety to keep you eating up the miles, Vancouver marathon is an excellent choice. Explore twelve different areas while running, including the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, the Seawall. With stunning scenery all around, 26.2 miles will feel like a stroll in the park.

Great Wall Marathon

When: May 20th 2017 Location: Huangya Pass, Jixian, Tianjin, China

If the length of a marathon isn’t challenging enough, why not add the Great Wall to the mix?

Considered one of the most arduous courses in the world, runners climb more than 5,000 steps and finish by running through small Chinese villages in the lower valley. There’s also a half marathon and an 8.5km Fun Run, too.

Big Five Marathon

When: June 24th 2017 Location: Entabeni Game Reserve, South Africa

Sign up for the Big Five and you’ll be sharing your route with buffalo, elephants, rhinos, lions and leopards. The term ‘Big Five’ refers to Africa’s most dangerous mammal species.

Set in the beautiful scenery of the South African savanna, there is nothing to separate you from the wild animals. As a result, you may find yourself upping the pace, but you will need to be wary of the strong winter sun and inclines which make this one of the toughest marathons in the world.

Image credit: Albatros Adventure Marathons

Sydney Marathon

When: September 17th 2017 Location: Sydney, Australia

Within the first couple of miles of this stunning route, you’ll be crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge – a monumental landmark in the region. And as an incentive, the finish line can be found just outside the Sydney Opera House. With these iconic sights to keep pushing you forward, Sydney could be the marathon for you.

Napa Valley Marathon

When: March 5th 2017 Location: Napa Valley, California

If scenery is an important factor for a marathon, you can’t go far wrong with Napa Valley. The run takes you through California’s famous wine-growing region, with views over the valley and sprawling vineyards. Adding to the rustic ambience, there is a 3000-person limit and no-headphones policy.

Berlin Marathon

When: September 24th 2017 Location: Berlin, Germany

Widely considered one of the fastest marathons in the world because of its flat course and slick turns, Berlin is a great place to aim for your personal best. In fact, a number of world records have been set here recently. The marathon takes in the city’s grand architecture, crossing into what was formerly East Berlin, through the famous Brandenburg gate.