10 of the most stunning marathon settings in the world

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

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

Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon, Nepal

(Facebook/Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon)

When: May 29, 2019

Dr Andrew Murray, a Merrell Brand ambassador who has won marathons and ultra-endurance races in eight different countries, including one in the Sahara desert, another in outer Mongolia (during winter of course), and in the Indonesian jungle, told the Standard 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 said. "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."


Inca Trail Marathon, Peru

(Facebook/Andes Adventures)

When: June 1 and August 3, 2019

The nine-day trail in Peru's southern Andes, which begins with a tour of Cusco and ends in Machu Picchu, offers adventurous travellers 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.


Australian Outback Marathon

(Facebook/Australian Outback Marathon)

When: July 27, 2019

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


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 lan, there are no fences separating runners from the wildlife.

Runnners can opt for either a full marathon or half marathon along this route.


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, 2,500 runners now take part in the race.


Queenstown Marathon, New Zealand

(Facebook/Queenstown Marathon )

When: November 16, 2019

The Queenstown marathon snakes around the town's pristine lakes and mountain ranges. The flat course offers distances of 42.2km, 21km, 10km, 3km.


Big Sur Marathon, California

(Facebook/Big Sur International Marathon)

When: April 28, 2019

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 on one side and crashing waves on the other. When crossing the iconic Bixby Bridge (pictured above) - which signals the race's halfway point - runnners are serenaded by a tuxedo-clad musician playing a grand piano.


Edinburgh Marathon Festival, Scotland

(Facebook/Edinburgh Marathon Festival)

When: May 25/26, 2019

This flat course in Edinburgh was voted the fastest marathon in the UK by Runners World, according to the event website. The route begins in the heart of Edinburgh city centre, guiding runners past some of the city's most iconic landmarks, before heading to the East Lothian coastline.

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


Firenze Marathon, Italy


When: November 24, 2019

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 is confined to within the city. Family and friends have plenty of opportunities to watch at many points."

The temperatures (12-14 degrees Celsius) in Florence at this time make for perfect running conditions, he adds.

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


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 ago, in a balmy -20 Celsius during the day before it cooled considerably after dark," says Murray.