Donning a favourite pair of running shoes and going out for a jog is, for keen runners, one of the best ways to explore a new city. They may choose to enjoy running alone or with a travelling companion, but in many cities there is also the opportunity to join in a marathon or other running event. Some of these events have become huge tourist attractions in their own right, drawing spectators from far afield.
London, United Kingdom
The London Marathon began in 1981 and is among the top 6 of the world’s marathon events. The course of the marathon starts in Greenwich, in London’s suburbs, then heads to the Thames before turning back into the heart of London past many major attractions, such as St Paul's Cathedral, the Palace of Westminster and London Eye, before ending at Buckingham Palace.
The next London Marathon is on April 26, 2020
The Tokyo Marathon is Japan’s top marathon event. The route starts in the business district of Shinjuku and cuts through inner Tokyo, heading along the Sumida River to pass Asakusa Shrine with the view of Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree in the distance, before finishing at Tokyo Railway Station.
The application deadline for those wishing to run in the next Tokyo Marathon has already passed but to enjoy the thrill of the marathon, you can still attend the event on March 12, 2020. Log in for more details at www.marathon.tokyo/en/
Other marathon events in Japan are as exciting to participate in either as an athlete or as a spectator. The Kobe Marathon in Kobe City is the closest event, on November 17, 2019. The course goes through shrines, the business district, along the seafront, and across Kobe Bay Bridge, before finishing near Civic Square.
The last marathon event in 2019 is in Osaka; the Osaka Marathon on December 1, 2019. The route goes through major locations in the city and ends at Osaka Castle Park. http://www.osaka-marathon.com/index_en.html
You will have to choose between Kumamoto Castle Marathon and Kyoto Marathon, since both events are scheduled on the same day - February 16, 2020. It might be an easy choice, though, for those who like Kumamon, the mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture. The course starts and finishes at the city’s iconic castle and goes through this beautiful city along its 42 kilometre route. www.kumamotojyo-marathon.jp/index_en.php
The course of the Kyoto Marathon is impressive. It starts at Takebishi Stadium Kyoto and winds through this World Heritage City of Kansai region, passing the ancient Zen temple, and seven UNESCO World Heritage shrines. It crosses the river in the centre of the city, and passes Kyoto Imperial Palace. https://www.kyoto-marathon.com/en
Another of Japan’s big marathon events already scheduled for next year is Nagoya Women’s Marathon, on March 8, 2020. The course of this interesting event starts and finishes at Nagoya Dome, going past Nagoya Castle and Nagoya Tower.
A Marathon event in Paris is as attractive as the City’s fashions and other sites. The Paris Marathon is the biggest marathon event in Europe, with more than fifty thousand runners participating. The course passes many Paris landmarks, such as L’Arc de Triomphe at the western end of the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower.
The Paris Marathon is scheduled for next spring, on April 5, 2020, https://www.schneiderelectricparismarathon.com/en/
Normandy, Mont Saint Michel Marathon
This marathon might be little known among non-runners, but is popular for the scenery and fresh air of the Normandy countryside. The highlight is the stunning Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey standing in the background.
The Mont Saint Michel Marathon will take place on May 30, 2020
Rome might not be well-known as a marathon city but the Rome Marathon, or Maratona di Roma, is one of the most spectacular marathon routes that takes runners back in time to the ruins of the Roman Empire and the holy Vatican City, the Renaissance squares and fountains. The route starts and finishes at the Colosseum, passing Navona Square, Piazza di Spagna and del Grosso Road that runs through the historic part of the city.
All roads will lead runners to Rome on March 29, 2020
Berlin is not only one of the world’s top tourist destinations; the city also hosts the marathon that all marathon runners would like to participate in once in their life, the Berlin Marathon. Witnessing the Berlin Marathon is also a memorable experience for spectators. The event takes place in September every year.
The starting point is at the Brandenburg Gate; from there the runners pass many major sites, such as Charlottenburg Palace and Schoenberg Town Hall. Besides the exciting race itself, runners and spectators alike can enjoy the spectacular architecture of Germany’s capital.
Records are often set and broken at the Berlin Marathon. In 2018, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya broke the world record at that time by running 42.195 kilometres in 2 hours, 1 minute and 40 seconds. He went on to break his own record in early October this year at a marathon in Vienna, becoming the first person to cover the marathon distance in less than 2 hours.
The Berlin Marathon began in 1974 and ranks among the top 6 world marathons. Being very popular for such a long-time, the Berlin Marathon is regarded as the world’s biggest and most popular marathon.
The next Berlin Marathon is on September 27, 2020
Other cities that host great world marathon events include Boston, New York and Chicago in the US and of course Athens, the birthplace of the Marathon.
Thai Airways International flies from Suvarnabhumi International Airport directly to major marathon cities: Paris, London, Rome, Tokyo, Osaka (which is conveniently connected to Kobe and Kyoto), Nagoya, Fukuoka (conveniently connected to Kumamoto). For Germany, there are direct flights to Frankfurt and Munich.
For more information: Visit www.thaiairways.com