The Ultimate Marathon Bucket List

Whoever would have thought I would write such a thing.

It was only 18months ago that I signed up to my first marathon with a niggling worry in the back of my mind that I would never complete it. But I did…and you would think that would’ve been the end of the whole matter.

You know “running a marathon” is often on peoples list of “What to do before I turn 40” and once they have done it, they hang their medal up somewhere prominent and their running shoes find themselves at the back of their cupboard never to be worn again.

But do you know what…without a doubt I have caught the bug, and simply can’t wait to run another. But not just any marathon…no I now know how much work goes into preparing yourself, both mentally and physically…so any marathon I enter has to be a very special one, one that ticks other boxes…not just “oooh I’m going to get up today and run 26.2 miles”, I mean we could do that any day of the week if we so wished.

So here it is my ultimate Marathon Bucket list…I wonder how many I will be able to cross off over the next 10 years or so?

1. London Marathon Well I did this last year in 2012, completing the course in 5.50.37. The atmosphere, the organisation, the cities landmarks…second to none which is why this marathon is on so many people’s list. The problem with this one as a starting point it will be difficult to match. Only downside of this marathon is how difficult it is to get a ballot place, and how much charities are asking runners to fundraise. I will forever more apply for the ballot just in case. Check out my race debrief here

2. Brighton Marathon – For a relatively new event (2014 will be its 5th) I have heard great things about the UKs second largest Marathon in terms of both the course and the atmosphere, and what with the thought of running in one of my all time favorite seaside locations in the spring, what is there not to like. The fact that my London friends and family will probably be up for travelling down to support me just adds to its appeal, as does the £60 entry fee.

3. Loch Ness Marathon – Maybe its something to do with my scottish roots, or the fact I do believe in huge mythical creatures, but I know this Marathon will be in the my sights in the next year or two. The scenery is supposed to be spectacular, and the air as fresh as can be (something my London lungs are probably crying out for) The route begins in an atmospheric location taking you along the south-eastern shores of Loch Ness, across the River Ness, and into the centre of Inverness, capital city of the Highlands. With a hot meal and entertainment at the finish, and a technical t-shirt included in your entry fee of £48 this autumn race undoubtably offers value for money.

4. Athens Classic Marathon – Who wouldn’t want to take part in the original marathon route, although it does include some steep hills and is probably full of real serious marathon runners (so no silly costumes) but with my overwhelming obsession with anything to do with the Olympics this is a race that I have had on my radar for a while. My only worry would be the heat …yeeessshh I just shudder at the thought of running any kind of distance in the scorching greek sunshine, although there is a bus that sweeps up (literally) any runners that can’t complete within the 8 hour timeframe. Entry costs approximately 90euros but lots of tour companies do packages including flights and accommodation.

5. Marathon Du Medoc – Running & Wine, not the most obvious of playmates for some, but for me this sounds like a marriage made in heaven. Created in 1984 by group of passionate marathon fans this event is based on 4 principles, Health, Sport, Conviviality (whatever that means) and Fun. So how is this materialised, well there are all sorts of fun events and activities surrounding the event day, including a post race ball…but on the day many runners run in disguise (ie costume) and along the route you will find a range of authentic french cuisine everything from wine, cheese, breads and meats, as well as entertainment and support from the locals…I get the impression that this is not a race for the PB chaser or for a fact anyone with an alcohol problem as each competitor receives a goody bag for finishing with all sorts of fun gifts including a bottle of wine, just incase they haven’t consumed enough along the course – wahey!! Costs about £70 to enter, but again the packages available seem to be the easiest way to get a place

6. Mount Everest Marathon – Its probably very unlikely that I will ever climb this mountain, but I would happily run around it. This race is actually in the Guinness World Records as the highest marathon in the world, but guess what? The run itself is actually all downhill…RESULT! Its a big undertaking though involving a 26 day trip to Nepal, including a 15 day trek. You need experience of off road, trail and marathon running to even be considered and there are only 75 places for non nepalese runners. Its a pretty steep entry price too £2800 including flights.

7. The Big Five Marathon – Probably not a good idea to tackle this one until I’ve worked on my speed and I will explain why. Held in South Africa among the wildlife of the African savannah this challenging marathon route going right through the habitat of the most famous African game: Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard. No fences, no rivers, nothing at all separates the runners from the African wildlife. So how do you prevent getting eaten by a Lion I hear you ask? Well try and stay with the rest of the pack (of runners that is), as I’m sure the person who comes in last is the best bet for a lions dinner. Race entry at about £160, with tours organised via 209 Events The idea of combining a safari and a long distance race may not be for everyone…and I for one would leave my ipod at home and have my wits about me at all times.

8. New York Marathon – I have always said I would like to the run this marathon, and since visiting New York last September I’m even more determined to do it. The fact that I could potentially stay at my partners grandmas house in the bronx is a bonus, but after the Boston bombings I may have some serious convincing of my partner to do before he lets me sign up. The route covers the 5 boroughs of New York – Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan, crossing 5 bridges with more than 2 million spectators and finishing in Central Park. Rules for entry are quite complex with a ballot, and a guaranteed entry route with various tours on offer from UK companies and charities and its definitly not a cheap option, with flights and entry alone coming in at about £1075, which doesn’t leave much money for shopping, hotdogs or cheesecake does it?

9. San Fransisco Women’s MarathonOrganised by Nike the same people who put on my recent 10K run, “We Own the Night Race”, this womens only Marathon in San Francisco, California is the largest woman’s marathon in the world. A full 26.2 mile certified marathon course is available, as well as a half-marathon distance race of 13.1 miles. Now ladies this is a tough course, with plenty of hills…well we all know San Fransisco is hilly just think of all those movie chase scenes (from films that escape me) dodging the trams and cars shooting over the crest of the hills into the sky, you get the picture right? So why would we want to do this marathon exactly. Well there are two main reasons, firsty there is no medal for finishing…no you get a Tiffanys necklace and get this, handed to you by none other than a San Fransiscan Fire Officer. So there we definitely have some added value, bucket list, boxes ticked from this race.

And finally…

10. Great Wall of China Marathon I have never been to China and would most definitely like to at some point in my life. I like the idea of using my running as a way of seeing the only man-made structure that can be seen from space up close and personal…and of course walking is for wimps.I have left this one till last as it is probably the most challenging marathon that you can do, in fact I think for most of the route I would describe the race as a crawl rather than a run with 5,164 steps and several hills to be climbed . With just over 2,000 runners in the 2012 edition with participants from over 50 nations its a relatively small event, but well organised or so it seems from its welcome pack. This race for me would be like fulfilling a lifetime ambition and would perhaps be something to build up to forming part of a longer-term overseas trip with the family as again its quite pricey, and a long way to go to run 26.2 miles, just to come back home again. Prices for a 6 might stay start at about $1250

So there we have it. I know these kind of lists create a bit of controversy…so bring it on…what have I missed? I am sure my list can expand to 20 rather than 10…let the fun begin!!

Why not post a link to your favourite marathon, or even a race report?

9 Responses to “The Ultimate Marathon Bucket List”
  1. Michelle C says:

    I think you forgot a Disney one. They look like so much fun. And it’s the Happiest Place on Earth! At least it would make my list. Along with that one, the Windsor/Detroit one where you get to run in 2 different countries across the Ambassador Bridge which connects them.

  2. rundancerun says:

    Definitely forgot one of the Disney marathon/half marathons! I’m desperate to do Loch Ness, it’s one of the top-voted marathons to do in the UK. Snowdonia is another one-I did the Half last year and WOW so tough but the views were breathtaking. They also have a Go Ape in the park so you can leave the family to have a bit of fun. I would also highly, highly recommend looking at the South Downs marathon too. They also offer half and team options (I’ve only ever done the team options as I think I would die doing the half!)

    The Great Wall of China, and Everest marathons are in the top 7 ‘hardest marathons in the world’ list:

    …you don’t half take the bull by the horns!

  3. tina leas says:

    You know you want to run the flying pig marathon in Cincinnati!

  4. The event not only attracts elite Scottish, international and club runners, but is also massively popular with amatueurs, joggers and those running to raise money for charity. Fifty different nationalities are usually represented in the marathon, 10k and 5k races, with athletes from as far afield as Australia, Brazil, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand and Trinidad.

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