Coolest Marathons in the World

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There are regular marathons and half marathons, and then there are really cool marathons! Whats a cool marathon? Let’s show you..

Photo- Great Tibetian Marathon- Himalaya Running

Great Tibetian Marathon (courtesy: Great Tibetian Marathon)

Being in India, we’ve got our share of marathons/runs across Indian cities. But there is a hidden gem among them all. The Great Tibetian Marathon.  Every July, this marathon is held in the Tibetian plateau of Leh/Ladakh. You literally run on top of the world! Set in the Trans-Himalayan backdrop, this marathon offers a unique and exceptional running experience! If you’re not a marathon runner, you could take part in the 5k, 10k or the half marathon!

Next is truly the coolest .. or rather the coldest marathon- The Polar Circle Marathon. Set in the snowy locales of Greenland, besides being unique, it would be an incredibly tough marathon. Held in October, the average temperature is around -5C/25F. Most of it is run on gravel roads/paths, except the part that’s on the 3 km thick Greenlandic ice cap!

Another place you never thought of running the marathon .. the Great Wall of China. Yes, the Great Wall Marathon. Set on the majestic Great Wall, this marathon runs along the wall. The run and scenery take your breath away. Some part of the marathon is climbing up and down stairs of the wall, making it even tougher. Held in May every year, this would be another cool marathon to do.

Going from moutainous marathons to flat land, is the Big Five Marathon- held among the wildlife of the African Savannah, you get to run right through the habitat of African wildlife. No fences or borders seperate the runners from the wildlife, adding to the adrenaline of the run. Another unique race is spectacular surrounding.

Going from the African Savannah to the ruins of Petra in Jordan, is the Petra Marathon held in September, debuting in 2009. They have a marathon and an ultra half marathon (22.3 km).

Photo- Petra Marathon- coolest marathons

Photo- Petra Marathon (courtesy:

Another cool marathon is the Big Sur Marathon. There are probably some more cool marathons out there. If you know of more, do share with us! Some day, we’d like to do all these marathons :)

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  • Robert


    This is one of the most extreme marathons in the world. Starting in everest basecamp (5184) it is the highest marathon in the world, as it has a guiness book of records notation! I have been there (hiking, not running) and I can assure you that the view is amazing and the road is hard…

    So put this one in your list as well, if you dare… :-)


  • thomas

    The world’s coolest marathon is the North Pole Marathon. It’s also much colder than the polar cicrle marathon and was -37C in 2009. It’s a joke to say the polar circle marathon is the coldest, let alone the coolest.

  • Fitho

    @thomas, thanks for the input!

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