Our countdown of the World’s Top 50 Marathons continues in Part IV. Discover the culturally unique marathons that mirror its many participants’ adventurous and diverse spirits!
35. Marathon du Médoc
Created in 1985, the Marathon de Médoc is quintessentially French. Runners will explore a looped course through France’s most scenic vineyards. With over 20 aid stations that serve French wine, around 8,500 participants sign up for the course. What also makes the race fun is that many people dress up in costumes. The marathon itself feels more like a party — or at least tries to distract its participants into thinking it is since we should all be celebrating the participants’ hard work. At the beginning of the race, guests will find entertaining acrobats and an all-you-can-eat food stand in the last 4k. The race is unique, but remember that it’s still a marathon and you have to navigate those distractions to finish! It’s well worth the fun and adventure.
34. Niagara Falls International Marathon
Starting in Buffalo, New York and finishing in Niagara Falls, Canada, this marathon is one of the few in the world that begins in one country and ends in another. Participants need to show passports or NEXUS cards at the start of the race, which are then given back at the finish line. Of course, runners will enjoy the scenery. The first 6.5 kilometers meanders along the historic Buffalo parkways before crossing the Peace Bridge into Fort Erie, Ontario. The remainder of the run is in Canada, going through Queen Elizabeth Way and then curving south and then back north along the Niagara Parkway. This beautifully landscaped road winds along the river. The end of the race faces the falls on the U.S.-Canada border in Niagara City and is a rewarding scene for anyone after a long race.
33. SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon
The Dublin Marathon is a yearly road marathon based in the lively Irish city and held on the last Sunday in October. Held since 1980, the marathon has a record number of 22,500 participants, including over 5,000 international entrants. One reason the race is so popular with runners is because of its many events. Participants can choose to join the South Dublin 10k marathon, the Dublin half marathon, the Fingal 4-mile, or the Fran Duffy 10-mile. The Marathon itself is reasonably flat. It starts at FitzWilliam Square in the city’s center and finishes at Merrion Square. While the exact routing varies each year, the race moves in an anticlockwise direction across the city in recent events. It finally passes through Phoenix Park and moves towards the city’s southern suburbs. It’s a lively run with a peaceful atmosphere.
32. TCS Amsterdam Marathon
Since 1975, the TCS Amsterdam Marathon has been known as one of the fastest tracks globally and is considered a World Athletics Platinum Label Road Race. Its ranking as one of the fastest marathon cities is the largest marathon in the Netherlands. The race is also known for its flat and historical character. The course includes a start and finishes in the Olympic Stadium, which is a remarkable start to the race thanks to the presence of supporters seated in the tribunes and marathon grandstand. Next, runners move through Rijksmuseum and the Heineken Experience, then along the Amstel with its stately mansions and windmills and through the Vondelpark. Along the route, participants can find sponge and water stations and refreshment stations and first-aid facilities are also available. The 2022 race takes place on October 16th and Globalrunning.com offers travel packages to participate in the weekend races.
31. Athens Marathon
Held in the historic city that originated the Olympic games, the Athens Marathon feels like a triumph goal for runners to participate in. Starting in a sloping terrain for 4 kilometers, runners move along Marathonos Avenue, turning and passing the Marathon Tomb. The course moves in a circular route around this war memorial and then becomes flat around the sixth kilometer. Runners then face some uphill terrain from the 11th to 17th kilometers. Runners will get a grand tour of the Greek capital, including Agia Paraskevi Square, the Chalandri and Cholargos districts, the Athens Music Hall, and the War Museum. The final part of the marathon’s course gives runners the chance to make eye contact with the Panathenaic Stadium while passing by the Presidential Residency and the National Gardens. The runners then enter the stadium before reaching the finish line. Before the race, runners can catch up on race information and medical advice to prepare. If the marathon race doesn’t suit you, check out their power walking, 10km road or 5km road race. Participating in a historically athletic city makes it an unforgettable experience.