Part IV of our World’s Top 50 Marathons highlights races from the City of Lights to the historical landmarks of Peru.
25. Paris Marathon
Held annually, the Paris Marathon is open to licensed and unlicensed runners alike. Competitors get into position near the top of Paris’s iconic Champs-Élysées before passing the Louvre, Place de la Bastille, and other Paris landmarks. Participants finish at the bottom of Avenue Foch, a scenic neighborhood lined with chestnut trees and home to many palatial manors. More than 55,000 runners participate in this marathon, and tickets often sell out fast. Participants are required to upload a medical certificate to race and must be 21 years of age or older to join. The marathon emphasizes eco-friendly running and encourages recycling, waste reduction, and environmentally conscious accommodations.
25. London Marathon
Traditionally set in April, the TCS London Marathon has been held in October for the last three years and is a huge driver for local and international charities. The 2022 Charity of the Year is the British Heart Foundation, an organization committed to regenerative medicine research. Competitors can choose to run for the charity of the year, purchase a placement from a charity, promise to raise a minimum donation amount, or run for charity without spending anything on placement.
There are two additional ways to enter this annual marathon—by ballot or through social media competitions. Alternatively, runners can enter the virtual marathon from anywhere in the world. The sights of London abound on this run, and participants will have the opportunity to see London landmarks like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament before making a grand finish at Buckingham Palace. The race is open to new and professional runners and participants using wheelchairs. Part of the price of entry is put toward projects certified to rebalance CO2 emissions from travel to the event.
23. Rio de Janeiro Marathon
This scenic run curves around Rio de Janeiro’s famed shoreline. With picturesque views of the beaches, mountains, and sky, this race is often cited as one of the world’s most beautiful. Drawing thousands of fans, the event is broken down into four categories over two days and includes a half marathon, 5K, full marathon, and 10k races. Runners must be at least 21-years-old to participate in the full marathon, at least 18-years-old to participate in the half marathon, and at least 12 years old to participate in the 5K race.
The half marathon is expected to be held on June 18, 2022, and must be completed within three hours. The full marathon will be held on Sunday, June 19, 2022, and must be completed within six hours. The 5K and 10K events are 90-minute courses.
22. Berlin Marathon
Ready for a cool down? For the first time since 2019, the Berlin Marathon is being held in September. This half marathon is open to runners 18 years of age or older and must be finished within six hours and 15 minutes. The event welcomes runners as well as competitors using hand bikes and wheelchairs. The course includes refreshment stands, but participants are free to bring size-limited hydration packs or drinking belts that can be refilled at refreshment stations.
The start and finish areas are only open to competitors, and participants are encouraged to arrive via foot or public transportation as there is no event parking available. Starting blocks are determined based on your best time in half or full marathons.
21. Inca Trail Marathon
With captivating views and historical Machu Picchu as the backdrop, the Inca Trail Marathon is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Elevation is front and center during this race. Athletes reach over 10,000 feet of elevation as they ascend Llulluchapampa meadow before continuing to the Pass of the Dead Woman and descending to the Pacaymayo River Valley. The run includes a pass through a 20-meter tunnel and a descent down hundreds of steps near Inca baths.
This is the last year the Inca Trail Marathon will go to Machu Picchu. The marathon is unofficial because of the site’s historical significance, and runners participate without bib numbers. The number of participants is limited to preserve the site, and tickets often sell out well in advance of the run. The marathon includes two simultaneous runs–the 30K and the 26.2-mile run. Competitors begin and end at the same location.