As saintly as our intentions may be at the start of the year, some of us will likely be flagging in the fitness stakes by the time Easter comes around… even before the chocolate eggs are opened! To keep up the motivation, many dedicated distance runners create goals for themselves by booking onto an organised run, of which there are plenty to choose from, both home and abroad. Anything will do to keep spirits and efforts up - from a 5k fun run all the way to a lofty marathon.
If you’re going to put yourself through the gruelling training for the fabled 26.2 miles (42.2km), then maybe you should reward your efforts by running somewhere that indulges the traveller in you too. The globe-trotting marathon runner can now take their pick of stunning locations or unusual conditions, with themes to suit every type of runner.
The Flexicover Teams offers some options of where to take part in a wonderful run this year and get a great holiday to boot at the same time too!
Midnight Sun Marathon; Norway
When: 18th June
Considered the most northerly city in the world, Tromsø is the unique location for this race. During the summer months the sun never sets overhead, leaving you free to run a whole marathon when you’d normally be tucked up in bed. One of the route’s highlights is running over Tromsø Bridge and the blue waters of the Tromsøsyundet for a spectacular view of the Arctic Cathedral set against a backdrop of the imposing Norwegian mountains, including the landmark Tromsdalstinden peak. If you don’t like running in heat – and you’re body clock tends more towards being a night owl – this is the marathon for you.
The Big Five Marathon; South Africa
When: 25th June
This is a marathon and daring safari experience all in one! It takes place across the 22,000 hectare Entabeni Game Reserve in Limpopo Province (between Johannesburg and Kruger), home to the ‘Big Five’ of African wildlife: elephants, rhinos, buffalo, lions and leopards. The route takes you on a challenging ascending course through valleys, ravines and open savannah where nothing separates the animals from the runners. This fact alone is often all the motivation folk need to keep going but your run will also take in plenty of fantastic scenery and other wildlife on show at varying points to add to the unforgettable nature of this race.
Machu Picchu Marathon; Peru
When: 6th August
This is widely regarded as one of the world’s toughest running routes, taking place along the famous ancient Inca Trail. The Incas strove to be closer to their sun god, Inti; this takes you high into the Peruvian Andes, to altitudes of 4,200m. Runners traverse lush but chilly cloud forests, alpine tundra and rough stone steps on the seemingly endless and steep Dead Woman’s Pass. With plenty of challenges to overcome – including thin air – this is not a race for the faint-hearted. But the finish line rewards you with views of the stunning ruins of Machu Picchu. And when you’re done, a train will return you and your weary legs to base camp!
Le Marathon du Medoc; France
When: 10th September
A hedonist’s adventure, this marathon is organised in true French style with an emphasis on wine and food – the actual running is largely a means to get from one rustic winery to the next. The 23-stop race is routed through 59 expansive vineyards in Bordeaux’s Medoc region. Participants can fuel their run with a choice of delicious local wines, alongside speciality foods like steak and cheese. Understandably, the atmosphere is convivial, with local bands often joining in to cheer on the runners. There’s even an oyster stop just before the finish line! With so much on offer, it’s little wonder that the time allowed for completion is a generous six-and-a-half hours.
Sparkasse Marathon; Central Europe
When: 9th October
This European marathon redefines cross-country running as your route wends through three different states. You’ll have a fine selection of mountain vistas from the off as the starting line is on the island of Lindau in Germany. It then curves out around the sparkling waters of Lake Constance and you’ll pass through Austria at Lochau and Switzerland at St Margethen before crossing the Rheindamm into Austria again on the way to a finish in Bregenz. Luckily the race itself is mostly flat and it takes place right in the middle of Oktoberfest, so you can celebrate your achievement with a well-deserved stein of something cold afterwards!
If you fancy taking on a marathon or some other sporting challenge abroad it’s good to know that Flexicover Insurance covers hundreds of sports and activities as part of our standard policy. In certain cases an additional premium may apply, particularly if taking place at altitude (such as the Machu Picchu Marathon). If you want to find out more, or are unsure if your activity is covered, please check out our policy booklet or our friendly team is on hand to answer any queries you may have on 0800 093 9495.