Running a marathon is not easy work — but with proper training, healthy runners can enjoy the experience of finishing a 26.2-mile race almost anywhere in the world. Rather than running a race in a place you’re familiar with, a destination marathon can make for a great vacation.
Even if a full marathon isn’t your thing, many races offer shorter distances — such as a half marathon or 10K — but there are some benefits to running the longer distance. Many marathon courses take you through some of the most beautiful places on Earth, and the longest course typically takes you through the most scenic areas. Whether it’s the architecture in a historic city like Paris or the volcanic beaches of Kauai, Hawaii, choosing the right race for you comes down to personal preference.
Popular marathon destinations
The Paris marathon takes place each April in the French capital and is known for its large crowds. Runners begin in front of the Arc de Triomphe and continue down Champs-Elysées. By race end, you’ll have passed iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Seine. The race includes over 27,000 competitors from over 140 nationalities outside of France, and makes for a great way to explore the City of Lights.
Almost every major city worldwide has at least one marathon, but if large crowds and cityscapes aren’t your thing, there are many marathons set among more natural scenery, such as the Kauai Marathon in Kauai, Hawaii. This race takes place in September and starts on Poipu Beach. With all the views you would expect in a place like Hawaii, the Kauai Marathon is perfect for those looking for a unique beach vacation, with volcanoes and jungle foliage sprinkled in.
Planning your destination marathon trip
Once you’ve decided when and where you want to race, it’s best to plan out all the details as far in advance as possible. For large marathons, hotels near the start line will start receiving reservations as early as 12 months in advance, and flights may become more expensive during race weekend as well.
Plan to arrive at your destination a few days prior to your race — maybe more depending on the distance you’re travelling. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to acclimate to the local time, weather, and — in some cases — elevation. You may also want to plan to stay the night after you finish the race to give yourself time to recover and enjoy your accomplishment too!
Choosing a hotel for your destination marathon
Choosing the right hotel for a destination marathon can make a huge difference in the overall quality of your vacation — and your race. Ideally, you’ll want to stay as close to the start of race as you can, so you can walk or jog to start line. You may also want to consider where the race packet pick-up is, if you’re required to pick it up in-person. Staying close to shops and restaurants will keep you entertained before and after the event as well.
Not only is location an important part of choosing your lodging, but the quality of your accommodations is also. You’ll want a clean, quiet, and comfortable room that allows you to relax and get a good night’s rest prior to your race. Having an on-site gym will ensure you have space to work-out and stretch in the days leading up to your race, and free breakfast is an amenity many hotels have to offer if staying within a budget is important to you.
If you’re staying downtown in a large metropolitan area and renting a car, it’s important to consider parking as well — as many garage fees in downtown areas can be as much as $50/day or more.
Once you’ve chosen the right marathon for you and taken care of all of the necessary accommodations, you can get back to focus on your training!
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This article was written by Andrew Halverson, National Account Executive at Hotel Engine.