So you think you’re a seasoned marathon runner with plenty of miles clocked under your belt? If you’re looking for something a little different, flip through your travel guides and see which country or, more specifically, city catches your eye.

Then, kick your marathon experience up a few notches and sign up for these unique marathons around the world. They promise a one-of-a-kind thrilling adventure that will definitely get your heart racing.

If it’s adventure and the chance to see the world you’re seeking, that’s exactly what you’ll get. Get your passport and running shoes ready!

1. Antarctic Ice Marathon

Leave no stone unturned, no continent untouched. The Antarctic Ice Marathon is the only marathon run in the interior of the Antarctic and is definitely not for beginners. The 4-day course is extremely challenging with participants having to deal with the blistering cold, bone-chilling winds, and underfoot conditions of compacted snow and ice.

Just a few hundred miles from the South Pole, don’t expect to see penguins cheering you on – the environment is too hostile for penguins to live in. You can only count on sheer determination and willpower to push through. Are you up for the challenge?

Photo Credit: Ice marathon

Upcoming races will take place on 24th November 2016 and 2017.
All application forms and payment to be submitted by 31st March 2017.

2. Inca Trail Marathon To Machu Picchu

Trace the footsteps of the ancient Inca civilization and experience the grandeur of the lost city on the Inca Trail Marathon. The ancient archaeological sites of Cusco, the Sacred Valley and the ruins of Machu Picchu nestled deep within the mountains will leave you gasping in awe, and also partly for air.

You will be battling high elevations, possible altitude sickness and the irresistible temptation to just stop and absorb the stunning view. There’s a reason why this marathon is sometimes called “the most difficult marathon in the world”.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Upcoming races will take place in June and August 2017.
Register by December 2016 for the June event, and early January 2017 for the August event.

3. Big Five Marathon

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight. This is no jungle; this is the Big Five Marathon that takes place in the rolling grasslands of the African Savannah (Entabeni Safari Conservancy). The Big Five Marathon is named for the 5 animals you will likely spot during your run – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. Why contend yourself with a regular trip to the Savannah when you can race through the natural habitats of the animals, with nothing more than pure distance separating you.

This is no walk in the park, as you have to navigate uneven trails and steep slopes, and sometimes be on alert for any sudden movements by the animals. Rangers are deployed to monitor the animals but when you’re in the wild, anything goes. Just try to avoid the rhinos.

Photo Credit: Big Five Marathon

Upcoming races will take place in June 2017.
Registration is open now and ends when quota is filled.

4. Walt Disney Marathon

This 26.2-mile (42km) route will take you through 4 Disney World theme parks and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida. Upon completing the full marathon, you get awarded with a coveted Mickey Mouse Finisher medal! For diehard runners cum Disney fanatics, go for the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. Upon completing the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday, you get 3 finisher medals – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy.

Don’t let the magic and pixie dust fool you into thinking the run will be a breeze – it is still a full marathon and you will feel all the torment and aches that come with it. On the bright side, you’re in the happiest place in the world and you have the support of Disney characters merrily waving you on.

Photo Credit: runDisney

Upcoming races take place in January 2017.
Registration is open now and ends when quota is filled.

5. Marathon du Medoc

Wine and running go together like peanut butter and jelly – at least in my dictionary. The Marathon du Medoc brings the best of both worlds together. Adequate hydration is essential to surviving a marathon and here, participants get to hydrate with fine French wine along the course, which weaves through the scenic vineyards of the Medoc region.

You know how most marathons feature panting runners and exhausted expressions on everybody’s faces? Well, you’ll be hard-pressed to find that at this wine party, I mean marathon. The runner’s high takes on a whole new meaning here. You definitely won’t be exceeding your personal best but since marathons are all about pushing your limits… Well, just try to get to the finish line standing. (Of course, practice safe drinking please.)

Photo Credit: Jan

Upcoming race takes place on 9 September 2017.
Registration will open in March 2017.

Put these unique marathons on your bucket list and cross them off one by one! There’s nothing quite like kicking off your well-worn running shoes and enjoying the rest of your holiday with a sense of accomplishment at having completed a tough challenge.

Eunice Lee

Eunice became hooked on travelling 2 years ago when she embarked on a student exchange programme in Stuttgart, Germany. When she’s not posting #throwback photos of her travels, you will find her going for a late night runs by Bedok Reservoir.

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