6 Unique Destination Race Ideas for Your Next Vacation

Photo: Courtesy of Kyoto Marathon

Going on a trip? Why not do a race, too, in one of these six racing destinations that’ll rouse your inner wanderlust.

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Kyoto Marathon

Feb. 19, Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto-marathon.com/en

In Japan, the Tokyo Marathon receives most of the international spotlight. However, the Kyoto Marathon reveals Japan’s more culturally traditional side. The point-to-point course passes by seven temples and historical sites built centuries ago, finishing near Heian-Jingu Shrine. It also provides scenic views of the five surrounding mountains, and winds through the Kyoto Botanical Gardens, providing a more natural and peaceful contrast to the towering buildings and flashing lights of Tokyo

The Great Wall Marathon

May 21, Tianjin, China
Great-wall-marathon.com

Put this once-in-a-lifetime race on your bucket list, but train as if you’re going to run an ultra-distance mountain race. While it’s “only” a 26.2-mile marathon, it has a ridiculous amount of vertical gain and drop on steep staircases as the Great Wall of China winds through the Chinese countryside.

Great Ocean Running Festival

May 20–21, Victoria, Australia
Greatoceanroadrunfest.com.au

Formerly known as the Great Ocean Road Marathon, this stunning race along Australia’s southernmost coastline has expanded to several races from 1.5K to 60K. Grab a mate and enjoy panoramic views of the ocean in any of the distances.

Rio Maratona

June 18, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Maratonadorio.com.br/en

This race will give you the chance to see Rio de Janeiro you saw on Olympic broadcasts last summer. The course passes by the sandy shores of Ipanema and Copacabana and 2016 Olympic venues, with lively crowds that give this race a party atmosphere. Views of the impressive and towering Christ the Redeemer statue welcome runners at the finish, where the real party begins.

Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon

Aug. 19, Reykjavik, Iceland
Marathon.is/reykjavik-marathon

Travelers have discovered the stunning beauty of Iceland’s snow-covered mountains, glaciers and other natural features. Luckily for runners, Iceland also has a marathon in the country’s small but captivating capital. After the race, celebrate with locals at Culture Night, a festival with live music, food and beer and a fireworks show.

Kauai Marathon

Sept. 3, Kauai, Hawaii
Thekauaimarathon.com

Starting from Poipu, the course makes its way out to the coastline where picturesque beaches and rugged volcanic peaks come into view before heading into the island’s lush tropical forests. The highlight comes in last few miles on the climb to the finish at Kukui’ula Resort.

Cape Town Marathon

Sept. 17, Cape Town, South Africa
Capetownmarathon.com

The breathtaking course of this race starts in Green Point Urban Park near the sea and takes runners along Cape Town Harbor, through the city, along the tree-lined streets of the outlying neighborhoods below Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain, and past iconic landmarks in the city center before finishing in Cape Town Stadium.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Montreal Marathon

Sept. 23-24, Montreal, Canada
Runrocknroll.com

Rock out on the streets of Quebec’s largest city in one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series international races. (Other race distances included a 1K, 5K, 10K and half marathon.) Running through the streets, you’ll experience neighborhoods with cobblestoned, French colonial influences that’ll mentally place you in Europe, and not just across the border.

Berlin Marathon

Sept. 24, Berlin, Germany
Bmw-berlin-marathon.com/en

This flat and fast course has been the site of nine world records over the past 18 years. The course winds through the Berlin metropolis and starts and finishes near Brandenburg Gate, the city’s iconic 18th century neoclassical triumphal arch.

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