We’re back with Part II in our series of the world’s top 50 greatest marathons. Check what makes these races some of the most invigorating and challenge races in the world.
45. Great Ocean Road International Marathon
Known as Australia’s most stunning running event, the marathon returns this year with a weekend-long celebration. Hosted from Lorne to Apollo Bay, Australia, the event is the ultimate challenge for endurance athletes. Runners make their way from Lorne along the renowned Great Ocean Road and then curb inland toward a flourishing forest before returning to the oceanside path with stunning views. Completing the unique 60 km challenge is empowering one and the cooldown is worth it for the stunning Australian coastline through Apollo Bay.
The event cut-off time is 6.5 hours and runners are encouraged to adjust their training accordingly! Registration is now open and the event will be held on May 15th, 2022. Check out the course map for elevation details!
44. Antarctic Ice Marathon
Recognized by the Guinness World Records as the Southernmost Marathon on Earth, The Antarctic Ice Marathon is run over the standard 42.195km (26.2 miles) marathon distance. The race embraces individual competition, and includes both male and female divisions. However, participants are also given the option to run a half marathon, The Frozen Continent Half Marathon, which takes place simultaneously as the regular marathon. It is also one of the two official running events within the Antarctic Circle that is hosted on the mainland.
Learn more about the exciting, one-of-a-kind marathon and register on their website!
43. Comrades Marathon
The Comrades Marathon turns 101 years old this year and has a prestigious standing as an ultramarathon, known as the world’s oldest and largest. The 89 kilometers (55 miles) is run annually in the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. In 2020 and 2021, the race was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the event plans to be back in 2022.
In 2019, the number of participants was capped at 25,000 runners and the registration process closed after one week. South African runners make up a large number of the contestants, but the marathon welcomes international participants too, with many coming from the UK, Zimbabwe, India, the United States, Australia, Russia, Botswana and more. Since 1988, over 10,000 runners have finished the race in the allotted 11 to 12-hour time frame in all but three races. Runners are able to participate if they are over 20 years old and have already completed an officially recognized marathon (42.2 km) in under five hours. During the event, athletes must also reach five cut-off points during specific time frames to complete the race. The spirit of the marathon embraces camaraderie, selflessness, perseverance, dedication and ubuntu.
42. Big Five Marathon
This exclusive event combines a challenging athletic experience with the beauty of a classic African safari. Held among the wildlife of the Savannah, runners compete against the natural habitats of elephants, rhinos, lions, buffalo and leopards — with no barriers. Anyone 18 years or older can register and participants can register for the full marathon or half marathon. Each race has cut-off times, with the full marathon expected to be completed in 7 hours from the start time. In order to keep everyone safe, runners who haven’t reached the cut=off points will not be allowed to continue and will be picked up by ranger vehicles and taken to the finish line.
The next Big Five Marathon race will take place on June 18th, 2022 and is a great experience for those wanting to experience a great adventure during a world-renowned competition.
41. Econet Victoria Falls Marathon
Held in Zimbabwe, the marathon has become a highlight of the African running calendar and has grown every year since its inception. The event now hosts a full, half, relay race and a 7.5 km fun run. The event is unique in that it is the only race to have a route that starts with participants running across a bridge on an international boundary in the beauty of a natural landmark of Victoria Falls. Runners also have the opportunity to spot big game like wild elephants. Each year, over 40 nationalities take part in the event. In 2020, the Vic Falls Virtual Marathon was founded as an exciting part of the event’s lifespan. Anyone, anywhere in the world can now join the event and it has become a mainstay and an added compliment to the in-person marathon.