ICE MARATHON Clean Water Preservation Run

Top 5 Unique Marathons by the Economic Times ( 2019)

From Norway to Russia, marathons to watch out for this year. Running through a challenging landscape brings an adrenaline rush like none other.

ET Bureau|
Feb 07, 2019, 05.13 AM IST
At Lake Baikal, a UNESCO protected site, runners endure sub-zero temperatures and a shifting, unpredictable surface.

With the growing consciousness about fitness and the need for an effective detox, the need for active vacations is on the rise. Fitness trips are rapidly expanding their options. Intensifying adventure-tour has evolved from trekking and hiking to cycling, marathon running.

For some even watching a championship adds value to a visit. Worldwide, marathon escorted tours are also becoming more exotic. On the other hand, for those seasoned runners, who’ve already had a taste of running in their own city, running in a new city brings forth a new found excitement (and challenge).

It is a unique approach to exploring a new landscape and course during a race. It is one of the best ways to enjoy the stunning scenery in an exotic locale. Plus, the backdrop can be a motivating factor when exhaustion takes over. On this page, we have put together a few options that require you to brave various circumstances to make it to the finish line. So get set, go...

Top 5 Unique Marathons

  1. Great Wall Marathon, China
  2. Tromso Midnight Sun Marathon, Norway
  3. Big Five Marathon, South Africa
  4. Baikal Ice Marathon
  5. Petra Desert Marathon, Jordan
Where: Tromso, Norway
When: June 22, 2019

Arctic running under the Midnight Sun poses a unique challenge to runners.

The Tromso Midnight Sun Marathon evokes a love for running and the great outdoors like none other. Staged at the height of the Arctic summer, the run begins in the late evening, challenging runners to finish by midnight. Set in Tromso, it is not only the northernmost marathon but also the most picturesque one showcasing a backdrop of snowcovered mountain peaks. That’s not the only perk: the phenomena of midnight sun, which lends a feeling of a prolonged sunset and sunrise all at once, that makes it unique. The result is a skyline that’s lit up in a reddish yellow light. The marathon trails across such splendid views that even the most dedicated runners feel the urge to bring out a selfie stick. The route also passes through the Arctic Cathedral, and the Polaria aquarium, two popular facades in the city. The race starts and finishes in the city centre with the final stretch receiving quite a buzz from the bar-lined streets.

Lake Baikal, Russia
When: March 2, 2019 

Baikal Ice Marathon takes you across the frozen waters of one of the largest, deepest and biologically richest fresh water lakes in the world. The marathon is a part of a larger winter games festival, the Winteriada, which also includes Baikal Kamchatka, Ice Fishing and Baikal Ice Golf Tournaments, Ice Skating Races and a few other outdoor adventure events. The surface of the frozen Lake Baikal is covered in fields of ‘hummocks', small hills of ice rubble. Baikal Ice Marathon is both psychologically and physically demanding. The utterly featureless landscape gives little or no sense of perspective to competitors, offering them nothing to focus on but how far they are from their goal. It is a long, cold, lonely trail across the barren white landscape, where progress is marked only by checkpoints positioned at 5 km .