11 of the most stunning marathon settings in the world

Rosie Fitzmaurice
Facebook/The Great Wall Marathon

For some marathoners completing one race just isn't enough – it leaves them hungry for more.

Assuming a backdrop of incredible natural beauty helps to spur them on in their quest for that runner's high, we sussed out some of the most scenic marathon settings around the world, with the help of some seasoned marathoners.

Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon, Nepal

(Facebook/Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon)

When: May 29 2019

Dr Andrew Murray at least, a Merrell Brand ambassador who has won marathons and ultra-endurance races in eight different countries including in the Sahara desert, Outer Mongolia in winter, and the jungles of Indonesia, says that the Everest marathon is one of his personal favourites.

"[It] starts at over 5400m at Everest Base Camp, affording incredible views of Everest itself as well as a raft of other snow capped giants" he told the Standard. "Running at that altitude feels like breathing through a straw. The injuries I suffered were mostly scrapes to my hands and knees, caused by constantly looking up at the views while on very uneven terrain.

"Don't touch the stew at Pheriche, a few of the folks spent longer than they would like on the toilet".

everestmarathon.com

Inca Trail Marathon, Peru

(Facebook/Andes Adventures)

When: June 1- and August 3 2019

The nine-day trail in Peru's southern Andes begins with a tour of Cusco and ends in Machu Picchu offers the more adventurous travellers among us a unique way of exploring the Inca trail. It involves climbing thousands of steps, while exploring ancient Inca fortress ruins along the route and, naturally, offers some incredible views. Participants do not wear bibs and there are a limited number of runners per race.

andesadventures.com

Athens Classic Marathon, Greece

The Panathenaic stadium makes for a dramatic finish line (Facebook/Athens Classic Marathon)

When: November 11 2018

The finish line for the Athens marathon is the dramatic Panathenaic Stadium, a site that hosted games in which nude male athletes compete (gymnikoi agones) in track events for centuries.

athensauthenticmarathon.com

Australian Outback Marathon

(Facebook/Australian Outback Marathon)

When: July 27 2019

The Australian Outback marathon was founded by Mari-Mar Walton, who has run in excess of 50 marathons and ultra-marathons all around the world. While running on red earth, participants can enjoy the stunning views of Uluru (or Ayers Rock, a large sandstone formation) and Kata Tjuta (or the Olgas, a group of large, domed rock formations).

australianoutbackmarathon.com

Big Five Marathon, South Africa

(Facebook/The Big Five Marathon)

When: June 22 2019

Set in a South African game reserve, participants can run free with the wild zebras and giraffes on the land – there are no fences separating runners from the wildlife.

There is a full marathon and half marathon available along this route.

big-five-marathon.com

The Great Wall Marathon, China

(Facebook/The Great Wall Marathon)

When: May 18 2019

The arduous Great Wall marathon involves climbing some 5,164 steps and leads participants through the lower valley and into the villages, where onlookers gather to cheer them on. Having started in 1999, the race now counts around 2,500 runners at a time.

great-wall-marathon.com

Queenstown Marathon, New Zealand

(Facebook/Queenstown Marathon )

When: November 17 2018

The Queenstown marathon has a stunning backdrop of the town's pristine lakes and mountain ranges. The flat course marks its fifth anniversary this year and offers distances of 42.2km, 21km, 10km, 3km.

queenstown-marathon.co.nz

Big Sur Marathon, California

(Facebook/Big Sur International Marathon)

When: 28 April 2019 (last Sunday in April)

The Big Sur marathon is a point-to-point course run on the CA Highway 1 that runs along the rugged Californian coast from Big Sur to Carmel. You'll be surrounded by luscious green hills and crashing waves, and when crossing the iconic Bixby Bridge, which signals the race's halfway point, you'll be serenaded by a tuxedo-clad musician playing a grand piano.

bigsurmarathon.org

Edinburgh Marathon Festival, Scotland

(Facebook/Edinburgh Marathon Festival)

When: May 25/26 2019

The "fast and flat" course in Edinburgh was voted the fastest marathon in the UK by Runners World.

"Huge numbers of runners, a fairly straightforward climactic conditions, and the stunning local scenery of everything from castles tp beaches make the Edinburgh marathon another of Murray's favourites.

The route begins in the heart of Edinburgh city centre and takes you along the coast.

"With a descent of almost 90m to near sea level, we believe that this is the fastest marathon route in the world" the website reads.

edinburghmarathon.com

Firenze Marathon, Italy

(Facebook/ FIRENZE MARATHON )

When: November 25 2018

Martin Williams, Commonwealth Games Marathoner, GB international and Saucony UK Athlete says: "My favourite marathon has got to be the Florence marathon. The course meanders through the city and over the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge.The course is also flat bar a road bridge you go over at one point in the second half of the race.It lends itself to good spectator support as the course confined to within the city. Family and friends have plenty of opportunities to watch at many points"

And the temperatures (12-14c) in Florence at this time make for perfect running conditions, he says.

"Refreshment stops every few miles include, water, tea and cakes" he adds. "It's a perfect marathon to take in some history, good food, culture and won’t break the bank.

"A good chance of a PB also" he added.

It's Italy's second marathon after Rome and expects to welcome more than 10,000 runners this year.

firenzemarathon.it

The Genghis Khan Ice Marathon, Mongolia

(Andrew Murray)

When: TBC (last held January 2018)

The Genghis Khan ice marathon in Mongolia offers a rare opportunity to take challenging yourself to the extreme.

"A completely unique cultural experience, with deliberately low numbers for a completely authentic trip into the frozen hinterland of Outer Mongolia. I ran it a couple years, the first in a balmy -20 celcius before it cooled considerably after dark" says Murray.

gkicemarathon.com