The Boston Marathon that took place this past Monday, and my ever-approaching marathon in Traverse City, Michigan (for which I’ve barely trained) has had me thinking quite a bit about running. And what do I think about it? I don’t always love it while I’m doing it, but what I do always love is this: it’s free and you can do it anywhere, even while you’re abroad. I, for myself, did the most running while I lived in France, because I had so much time and the weather was always better than in Michigan (and therefore my two biggest excuses for not running really, truly, seriously had no merit). But what better way is there to explore a new park or get lost in the streets of a new town, or even participate in a local event? It doesn’t have to be a long-distance feat, there are plenty of short events to partake in that will make for a unique experience and interaction with a new place and culture. Take a look at some international races below!
Midnight Sun Run, Reykjavik, Iceland
The best time to visit Iceland is without doubt during the summer, when the weather is warm and the days are long- very long. Because Iceland is situated so far north, near the summer solstice (June 21) the sun is visible for a full 24 hours, setting around midnight and rising again around 3am. You can take in the colorful sunset and sunrise and Iceland’s landscape all while running. After completing the race, runners are invited to relax in the Laugardalslaug geothermal pool, within walking distance from the finish line. And you don’t have to run a full marathon; the distances for this race range from a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. If the sun is up, you might as well be running! When you’re done relaxing, head to Baejarin’s Beztu Pylsur for the best hot dog of your life! You earned those calories.
Check out #midnightruniceland on Instagram for more awesome photos! Officially on my bucket list. June, 23 2015!
Marathon du Medoc, Medoc, France
Can I interest you in running a marathon? How about drinking wine? How about a marathon and drinking wine at the same time in Bordeaux, France? This marathon takes place every September, offering runners a single loop course through some of France’s most scenic vineyards (with stops for samples along the way, of course) and a view of over 50 chateaux. The best way to heal your sore muscles and hangover the next day? There’s a recovery walk through the vineyards of Cantenac (a nearby commune). Registration is still open for 2015! You’ll just need your best attire and some running shoes; the theme this year is “Dressed up to the Nines.”
A few glasses of wine and some interesting costumes make for a great distraction from the fact that you’re running 26.2 miles.
Great Wall Marathon, Tianjin, China
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, The Great Wall Marathon in China has become known as one of the most difficult marathons in the world, and for good reason. In addition to covering the standard 26.2 miles, the full marathon includes 5, 164 steps. For the less ambitious (like me for example) there is also a half marathon, and an 8.5k fun run (a non competitive run). Don’t worry if you’re out of shape for this one; registration is closed for 2015, so you have plenty of time to get a jump on training for 2016.
Now that’s impressive.
Sure Run to the Beat, London, England
Many organized races prohibit or strongly discourage listening to personal music devices, as it takes away from the camaraderie and spirit of the event. Be present, people! In London’s Run to the Beat, however, the music is provided for you. This year’s 10k race takes place in Wembley Park on September 13. The course is lined with DJs playing pump-up music to keep you motivated from start to finish. Runners are invited to a music-filled after party after finishing. What a way to celebrate a good run. And even better, fundraising for this race will support the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, the official UK charity of the event. Explore a part of London and contribute to the greater good by running to the beat! Check out @runtothebeat2015 on Instagram for more photos of past races!
München Marathon- Munich, Germany
The perfect justification for your beer consumption at Oktoberfest: you’ll run it off after, and you can do it in a team! At the München Marathon, you can run a full marathon if you’d like, run it as a relay in a team of five, or partake in the 10k (I guess it depends on just how guilty you feel post festival). And when you’re done, celebrate your victory with (another) beer of course! Beer is for celebrating. Prost!
A running marathon after your beer marathon!
And these are only a few of many organized runs across the globe. Just visit your local city’s website to browse organized events or do a quick google search and see what you find! Even my tiny town in France had an organized 5 and 10k. There’s also a trend with many organized races to do something quirky to make it more fun and get you excited, because while you might hate running, you might love running in a gorilla suit.
Great Gorilla Run, London, England
And it doesn’t have to be an organized event of course. All you need to do is lace up your running shoes, step outside, and go! Happy running.