If you enjoy running marathons, you know that there is nothing quite like running one through a scenic, exciting new place. So if you have set a goal to run a marathon this year, why not make it one that you will remember? We've done the research for you and have narrowed down some of the best marathons in the world for you to consider. So lace up those running shoes and start training. It's time to travel the world and start crossing these remarkable and memorable races off your bucket list.
1. Napa Valley Marathon
Only 2,300 racers are accepted to this marathon each year. The route runs along the Silverado Trail and continues south from Calistoga to Napa. This makes the view while running absolutely breathtaking with views of the valley, fruit trees and vineyards. This is a great race if you are just beginning to run marathons because a lot of the course is downhill.
2. Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris
This is considered one of the best ways to see the City of Light because the course runs beside the banks of the Seine and past some of the city's most popular attractions – Place de la Bastille, Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. This is also one of the largest marathons in the world – with about 40,000 racers taking part each year - but it is one that will give you views of the city that you can't get anywhere else.
3. Virgin Money London Marathon
This marathon route will take you past some of the coolest landmarks in England, including Big Ben and the Tower of London. It runs along the River Thames and across the Tower Bridge. Along with some great views, you will also be entertained since many come out to watch in crazy costumes. About 40,000 people run this marathon each year, making it one of the largest in the world. And the best part about this marathon? You can celebrate after by stopping into a nearby pub for a beer.
4. Boston Marathon
This is the oldest and most prestigious race in the United States. Racers actually have to qualify with a time from another marathon in order to participate. You will be treated to beautiful sites while running through several New England towns and be cheered on by thousands of spectators who come out to watch each year.
5. Big Sur International Marathon
If you're looking for gorgeous views to distract you along this California marathon, you won't be disappointed. You'll be running along the coast of Highway One from Big Sur all the way up to Carmel, taking in views of the Pacific Ocean as well as rural ranches. This is considered one of the largest rural marathons in the world.
6. Vancouver Marathon
This marathon is limited to 5,000 racers and begins in Queen Elizabeth Park and continues through several neighborhoods. You will run past the beaches at Spanish Banks and enter the famous Stanley Park before finishing the race in the downtown core. By the end you would have run through 12 different areas of the city, taking in a lot of shoreline views.
7. Great Wall Marathon, Tianjin, China
If you like torture, this race is for you. In fact, they say you should expect the race to take about 50 percent longer to complete than other marathons because of the extreme ascents and descents throughout the course. The race starts near the village of Huangyaguan and leads you straight to the Wall. As you go up and down the 5,164 steps, you may feel tired but you will get amazing 360-degree views of China's countryside.
8. Marathon de la Baie du Mont Saint-Michel, France
Right from the start of this race you will get to see the finish line – the Couesnon dam in front of Mont Saint-Michel. The 26.2 mile race runs from Cancale in Brittany, through Vivier-sur-Mer and into what is known as yachting haven Cherrueix. This is a good race for beginners because a lot of the course is flat, allowing you more time to enjoy the beautiful vistas of the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel.
9. Big Five Marathon, Limpopo, South Africa
If you like racing as much as you like animals, this is the marathon for you. Some say it's like a marathon and a safari all in one. However, it's also one of the hardest since the entire course includes hills and valleys in the Waterberg district of South Africa. If you think you can handle it, it's worth it because you will get up-close views of antelope, giraffes, zebras and perhaps even some lions. In fact, the start time of the race actually depends on the location of the big five game – lions, African elephants, Cape buffalo, leopards and rhinos.
10. Athens Classic Marathon
This marathon begins on the ancient battlefield in the town of Marathon and while the course is a tough one – starting near the Aegean Sea and climbing up toward Athens – it's worth it. You will get to pass by the Tomb of Marathon where the Athenian soldiers who died in the battle are buried. You will get to finish the race at the Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896.