While there is something invigorating about running with hordes of people through the streets of New York or London, the crowds and pressure can be overwhelming. Why run shoulder to shoulder with tens of thousands of sweaty people on a cold day in a jam-packed city, when you can run alongside the beach or amongst wild animals with as much room as you want? With the help of ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes, we've compiled a list of some of the best—and often overlooked—marathons around the world. Get ready to see what you've been missing out on.Swing by your local Jamba Juice and try a small smoothie or 12-oz juice—for free. Just download the Isis Mobile Wallet® app to your phone, activate the offer in the Wallet, and check out with it at a participating Jamba Juice location. Click here for details.
For the ultimate way to see The Great Wall of China why not run, instead of walk, up this historic monument? Although completing a marathon through one of the 7 Wonders of the World seems like a dream come true the number of contestants that sign up is surprisingly low, probably thanks to the 5,000+ steps involved. However, if you're up for the challenge, Karnazes agrees that it might be one of the coolest ways ever to see the sights of China. 12 Celebrities Who Have Run Marathons
The Dead Sea Marathon
Held in April, this 50km ultramarathon will take you to the lowest point on earth, 418 meters below sea level. Yes, this means it's all downhill. But don't let that fool you—the downward route can be brutal on the legs if you haven't trained properly. The small number of participants leaves the desert path almost empty, aside from some camel bystanders. When you reach the finish line at Amman Beach be sure to celebrate your accomplishment with a dip in the Dead Sea.
The Everest Marathon
After you've finished the lowest marathon on earth, why not tackle the highest? Recognized by Guinness as the "highest marathon in the world", the Everest Marathon takes you through the Everest National Park and Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa capital town, plus past the Buddhist monasteries of Pangboche (one of the oldest in the area) and Thyangboche (the biggest one in the whole Himalayas). While it is one of the most adventurous races, don't worry, it doesn't take you to the top of Everest. Afterwards, if you have any energy left you can climb at your own risk. 10 NYC Marathon Moments That Made History
The Australian Outback Marathon
This summer marathon held in—you guessed it—the Australian Outback, will feel much more like sightseeing than racing. Feel the kilometers slip by as you take in the majestic and monolithic red rock formations of Uluru and Kata Tjuta and watch the ground underfoot shift from a graded bush road to a genuine bush fire-trail. Just make sure you stay on the path, there aren't too many signs out there, and you don't want to end up alone with the dingos!
Hopefully your running shorts have a secret pocket for your passport because this October marathon is the only race around that leads runners through three different countries—Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Even better, after you finish the race, Oktoberfest festivities will be waiting for you around the corner to toast your achievement with a few well-earned steins of brew.
They say going on an African safari is a once in a lifetime experience. Now imagine adding an unforgettable race into that equation. That's what you get when you head to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya for their June Safaricom Marathon where the only living things you will be sharing the wide-open space with will be lions and zebras. But have no fear: the race is manned by armed rangers in case any of that wildlife gets a little too up-close-and-personal.
The Polar Circle Marathon
The perfect time to run is when the weather is cool so you don't notice how hard your body is working. Sixty six degrees northern latitude—also known as the polar circle—might be a bit extreme though. The good news is you won't sweat one drop during this race, which takes runners through tundras, moraine landscapes, and glaciers. This marathon is, literally, the coolest marathon in the world. North Pole Marathon: Adventure Racing at the Top of the World
The perfect way to finish a marathon would be to jump into crystal clear waters and cool off. Sounds unreal, doesn't it? Well it isn't, which is why the Marathon Bahamas, held in February, is the perfect marathon. Running alongside the beach might seem like a tease, but diving into the ocean at the finish line makes it all worth it.