Searching for the perfect marathon to join? Across the globe, there are many interesting marathons to run that offer scenic views, challenging terrain, and opportunities to connect with other participants or team players in friendly competition. Today, there are marathons to join on every continent. Although some marathons have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are restarting in-person events or offering live online opportunities for participants.

Scouring running blogs, experienced coaches and knowledgeable writers, we became curious about what makes an exciting and invigorating opportunity for travel, competition, and a great physical challenge. Listed below is Part I in our marathon series that counts down the 50 best marathons from around the world that you should consider putting on your bucket list or joining in the near future.

50. Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon

Events for the Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon may start at 5 a.m., but most participants don’t care since they’re waking up in tropical weather. The annual marathon is usually small but offers some friendly vibes to get in a good state of mind. In fact, friendly volunteers offer to pick participants up from the airport. Once you run two loops on the very flat track, you can refresh yourself with a cold drink by the beach in the beautiful waterfront area of George Town. Kids can enjoy the fun run at 10:15 a.m.

Next year’s race will be held on December 4th, 2022. Check out their website to learn more about how you can prep for the leisurely marathon. 


49. Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon

Although postponed last year, the Bangkok Marathon in Thailand serves as a vibrant atmosphere for runners. The marathon is known as the largest traditional marathon event in the country; the first Bangkok Marathon took place in 1988 and since then (sans last year), the event has been organized annually for the third Sunday of November. The marathon allows participants to join a 42.12 km, but they also offer a half marathon, a mini-marathon, and a micro marathon of 5 km for anyone of all ages to participate.

The event’s venue is located near Sanamchai Road in front of the Ministry of Defense of Thailand and the Grand Palace. Here runners can enjoy the cultural scenery of the historic city’s capital. 


48. World Marathon Challenge

Perhaps, one of the most challenging (and time-consuming) marathons in the world, the World Marathon Challenge is not for the faint of heart. If you want to run a marathon on each continent, then this might be the challenge for you. The first marathon will be held in February 2022 and is a logistical and physical marathon run that takes place on seven continents in seven days. Participants are slated to run the standard 42.2km marathon length in Novo, Antarctica, Cape Town, South Africa, Perth, Australia, Fortaleza in South America, Miami in North America, Dubai in Asia and Madrid in Europe, all within 168 hours. Timing starts when the marathon kicks off in Antarctica.

The marathon offers both team and individual competitions. The winning team is decided by the group that completes the fastest combined marathon times of the top three runners on each team. However, the team must have one male and one female runner amongst the three participants. Team members can also rank in individual competitions. The World Marathon Challenge is the only annual event that offers runners the chance to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. 


47. The Last Desert Marathon

Hosted in Antarctica, the Last Desert Marathon is a worthwhile adventure. Labeled as Antarctica’s only multi-stage footrace, the marathon’s competitors experience up to 250 155 miles across the world’s largest desert, often called the “White Desert.” The race is held throughout the Antarctic Peninsula, which holds a prominent history of polar exploration. The scenic backdrop includes icebergs, mountains, research bases, seals, and penguins. It’s an incredible experience many won’t ever forget if they have the wherewithal to take on the cold and challenging terrain. On their website, the itinerary for 2022 is already posted and information on how you can prepare. 


46. Atacama Crossing

Held in the Atacama Desert of Chile, the marathon is a 7-day footrace over 250 km. Through the course of the marathon, competitors run through salt flats, sand dunes, icy cold slot canyons, cross rivers and experience the breathtaking starry nights while in the foothills of Andes mountains. The race also takes participants through the Salar de Atacama, Valle de la Muerte and Moon Valley. It completes at the Town Square of the adobe village in San Pedro de Atacama. Dates for the 2022 marathon (held in September and early October) are already posted on the hosts’ website, so you can plan ahead and decide if this adventure is a prime opportunity to experience breathtaking scenery and a vibrant culture while working toward a personal goal.