There are a variety of destination running races for every fitness level. Pick one of these fun destinations, start training, and pack up your running gear.

destination running
Destination running race in Antarctica
Photo by James Eades on Unsplash

1. Destination Running in Antarctica: Antarctica Ice Marathon

Running in one of the coldest places on earth may not be your idea of a vacation, but you can combine it with a trip to Chile. The Antarctica Ice Marathon is the world’s southernmost marathon. It takes place in December, just a few hundred miles from the South Pole. There is also the Frozen Continent Half Marathon happening at the same time.

Competitors fly to Union Glacier, Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile. Punta Arenas is near the tip of Chile’s Patagonia region. Explore Southern Patagonia’s breathtaking landscape with a trip to Torres del Paine National Park or head to Isla Magdalena to see the thousands of Magellanic penguins along the shoreline.

Destination Running Tip:

Most runners aren’t looking to set any records since the harsh conditions greatly reduce your speed.

Destination running race at The Empire State Building in New York City.
Destination running race at The Empire State Building in New York City.
Photo by Triston Dunn on Unsplash

2. Destination Running in North America: The Empire State Building Run-Up

Every May, competitors race up The Empire State Building’s 86 floors. The fastest runners can complete the 1,576 stairs in about 10 minutes. Your travelling companions can take the elevator to the Empire State Building’s Observatory in under a minute. The official charity of The Empire State Building Run-Up is the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which helps people with physical challenges lead active and healthy lifestyles.

Fuel up before your Run-Up with a trip to Little Italy for a pasta dinner. After your Run-Up, take a rest in Central Park. Be sure to visit some of New York City’s other famous sites including Statue of Liberty, Times Square and Rockefeller Center.

Destination Running Tip:

Run-Up entry is usually via lottery registration in January.

Destination running race on the Great Wall of China
Destination running race on the Great Wall of China.
Photo by Robert Nyman on Unsplash

3. Destination Running in Asia: Great Wall Marathon

The annual Great Wall Marathon draws 2,500 runners from over 60 nations. It also offers a half marathon and a 8.5km Fun Run. It is usually held in May along a section of the Great Wall called Huangyaguan Pass that is east of Beijing. It’s a tough course with over 20,000 stone steps that vary in length and are often missing or crumbling.

After your race, take another visit to the Great Wall of China to leisurely appreciate its beauty. Other sites to visit in Beijing include the Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven. Savor the local cuisine at a noodle or dumpling shop.

Destination Running Tip:

Incorporate hills or stair training into your running routine to best prepare for the Great Wall’s varying elevation.

Destination running race in Dublin, Ireland.
Destination running race in Dublin, Ireland.
Photo by Devin McGloin on Unsplash

4. Destination Running in Europe: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Dublin

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series takes place at over 25 destinations around the world. The race routes feature live bands, cheerleaders, and themed water stations. We suggest the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin happening in August 2021 to rock out on the Emerald Isle. Try your Irish luck and choose from the Half Marathon, 10Km 5K, or Family Fun Run.

Reward yourself post-race with a Guinness. Stop by the Guinness Storehouse for a brewery tour and take in the panoramic views of Dublin from atop the Gravity Bar. Celebrate your finish with a night on the town at the many pubs and restaurants in the Temple Bar area.

Destination Running Tip:

The Irish weather can be unpredictable, so be prepared for anything from rain to hot summer sun on race day.


Would you like to attend a destination marathon? If you like destination running, which one would be your favorite?

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