Running gives you a great chance to carve out some much-needed time from a busy schedule and work on yourself. From breaking your personal best to the mental health benefits that it brings, there are many reasons people start to run. But if you’re ready to push yourself further, there’s no time like the present to set new goals and aim for a mammoth marathon. If you’re ready and willing, then it’s time to narrow down your search. These runs are set among stunning scenery, with many conveniently close to a relaxing wellness resort—the perfect places to indulge in some hard-earned rest and relaxation after achieving your running goals.
January 4: Great Freedom Run (Egypt)
Want to get 2019 off to a running start? Taking place in the footsteps of the Pharaohs on January 4th, the Great Freedom Run finishes in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. This half-marathon is open to female runners above the age of 18 and male runners above the age of 16, with respective time limits of three hours and three hours and fifteen minutes. Elite runners are offered four nights complimentary accommodation, and event organisers offer additional services that include a sight-seeing trip around Cairo and the great pyramids. If you’re not quite in peak condition after the 2018 festive season, perhaps keep this one on the roster for next January.
February 1: 9 Dragons Ultra (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong’s Standard Chartered Marathon might steal the spotlight with media attention later in February, but the 9 Dragons Ultra is the ultimate test of endurance for the city’s top runners. Taking place between February 1 and 3, the race takes runners along an 89-kilometre trail that sees them scale over 5,000 metres in elevation – and that’s just day one. The second day takes athletes along another 50-kilometre route with elevation gains of over 3,700 metres. If that isn’t enough to earn you a treatment or two at the city’s most luxurious urban spa retreat—Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong—then we don’t know what is.
March 23: Chianti Ultra Trail (Italy)
The second annual Chianti Ultra Trail takes place on March 23, with 15, 37 and 73-kilometre distances available to entrants. Taking runners through the sights and sounds of the Siena countryside, options exist for both all-inclusive packages and a race-only alternative, with accommodation and other arrangements to be made separately. And once you’ve worked up a thirst – and we guarantee you will – there are few better places to bask in the Tuscan sun than at Castel Monastero, Italy’s premier resort and spa with a focus on wellness.
April 28: Badwater 135 (California)
Set across the rugged Californian landscape, Badwater is a race for teams of two or three ultra-runners that spans 130-kilometres. Taking place on April 28 from Borrego Springs to Ranchito, the race is capped at 105 participants, so be sure to register soon if you’re interested in taking part. And just over a three-hour drive from the route, The Ranch Malibu is a popular wellness resort and getaway for healthy holiday-goers and is the perfect place to re-fuel on nourishing cuisine and hike the Californian hills (at your own pace).
May 25: Myvatn Marathon (Iceland)
Set among the Icelandic volcanic landscape, the Myvatn Marathon—which takes place on May 25—leads runners to race around lakes, lava and volcanoes, with an altitude climb of just over 380 metres. 3, 10, 21 and 42-kilometre races will be run throughout the day, with each circling Iceland’s fourth largest lake. While it’s not entirely close quarters, a trip to the island’s western coast – rough a six-hour drive away – takes you to the infamous Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa, an Instagrammers dream and a luxuriously warm and welcoming spa for those looking to rest tired legs and aching limbs.
June 2: Easter Island Marathon (Polynesia)
Though perhaps better known for the iconic, ashen stone statues that stand proudly on its coastline, Easter Island is also a distance runners dream. Its terrain—rugged and untouched by time—serves as the perfect playground for 10-kilometre, half marathon and marathons that take place on June 2. Owing to its remote location and its focus on eco-conscious and sustainable travel, the total number of race participants is capped at 180.
July 27: Australian Outback Marathon (Australia)
Deep in the Australian hinterland, the Outback Marathon takes runners past iconic landscapes, marvelling at Ayres Rock and on the run of a lifetime. Marathon, half marathons, a 10-kilometre and 6-kilometre runs are open to participants. The run takes place on July 27th and has proven itself popular, developing a loyal following among former entrants and new runners alike. Accommodation and travel packages are available to runners flying in from elsewhere, ranging from Platinum to Red Earth.
August 17: 6 Lakes (Sweden)
True to its name, the 6 Lakes Marathon takes runners around six lakes in the Swedish countryside. While trialling a trail run, one of the race’s founder discovered the combined length of the six lake circuit was exactly the distance of a marathon, making it the perfect place to set up a marathon. The 2019 marathon takes place on August 17, and maintains an eco-conscious approach to running, with no paper or plastic cups on site (runners are asked to re-use Hydrapouches, instead).
September 14-15: Serifos Sunset Race (Greece)
Now in its seventh year, this 20-kilometre races takes place through the heart of Serifos island, a picture-perfect postcard destination in Greece. Swims, children’s races and fun runs of varying distance also take place between September 14 and 15. For a relaxing retreat destination, once you’ve run to your heart’s content, Porto Elounda Golf Spa & Resort is the ideal island resort spot.
October 6: The Colombo Marathon (Sri Lanka)
With the monsoon months firmly behind, the Colombo Marathon (formerly known as the LSR Colombo Marathon) offers entrants a road race with a route that passes beaches, historic sites, and more. Crossing the finish line at the Beach Park in Negombo, you’ll have earned a good night’s sleep, and the Tri Lanka resort – just a three hour’s drive from Colombo – offers just that. The eco-conscious places a strong emphasis on its environmental policy without compromising on comfort or luxury—two things you’ll long for after completing a marathon.
November 2: Snow Canyon Half Marathon (Utah)
It might be called Snow Canyon, but anyone running the Half Marathon—even in November—is still guaranteed to work up a serious sweat. On November 2, runners ascend on St George, Utah, to compete in a race that takes place across the iconic red rock landscape. For the ultimate combination of healthy holiday and laid-back luxury, venture to the nearby Red Mountain Resort, which offers a wide range of health and wellness retreats to discerning travellers.
December: Angkor Wat International Half Marathon (Cambodia)
For a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience, run through the ancient temples at Angkor Wat. The annual half marathon and 10K races taking place in December, though the exact date is still to be confirmed. If you’re looking to spend Christmas in paradise, retreat to the private island sanctuary of Song Saa, with its unique designs, picture-perfect accommodation, and uncompromising approach to leisure and luxury.