A year abroad is a great excuse to get fit! If you need a little extra motivation, why not sign up for one of these wacky races?
- 1. City2Surf, Sydney
- 2. Comrades Marathon, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
- 3. The Midnight Sun Marathon, Tromsø, Norway
- 4. Marathon du Médoc
- 5. Safaricom Marathon, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
- 6. Paris-Versailles 10k, France
- 7. Swissalpine Marathon, Davos, Switzerland
- 8. Hood to Coast Relay, Oregon, USA
- 9. New York City Marathon, New York, USA
- 10. Nakukymppi - The Nude Run of Finland
1. City2Surf, Sydney
City2Surf is a 14km race that takes place in Sydney, Australia, in August each year. It goes all the way from the centre of Sydney to the famous Bondi Beach, so you can cool off by diving into the sea when you cross the finish line! Expect a whole lot of ridiculous costumes floating around in the surf.
2. Comrades Marathon, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
Founded in 1920, the Comrades Marathon is the world's oldest ultra-marathon and a rite of passage for many serious runners, taking place in May each year. Warning: this is not a race for the fainthearted. It stretches 56 miles and alternates between up and downhill courses.
3. The Midnight Sun Marathon, Tromsø, Norway
The Midnight Sun Marathon is the world's northernmost AIMS certified marathon. Just as the name suggests, the marathon takes place in the middle of the night (in June), when the sun sits on the horizon. If you're feeling hardcore, the Polar Night Half Marathon takes place in the same location in the middle of winter (January each year). Expect blistering cold - it is the Arctic after all!
4. Marathon du Médoc
Now THIS sounds like our kind of marathon. The Marathon du Médoc course starts near Bordeaux each September, and passes through dozens of vineyards, with participants being actively encouraged to sample the wine en route. It's thus often referred to as the longest marathon in the world, because you end up running it in a zigzag.
5. Safaricom Marathon, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
Taking place in rural Kenya, the Safaricom Marathon each June helps to raise money for Tusk, the wildlife conservation organisation. Because the course leads through the savannah and along river banks where animals roam, rangers and a spotter plane are on hand to ensure the safety of the runners and to discourage any wildlife from joining in!
6. Paris-Versailles 10k, France
The course of the Paris-Versailles takes you right through one of the world's most recognisable cities every September. Starting at the Eiffel Tower, the race stretches for 10 miles, finishing in the town of Versailles. A very popular race that's great for beginners and experts alike.
7. Swissalpine Marathon, Davos, Switzerland
The Swissalpine Marathon is one of a series of races that take place in the stunning Davos resort in the Swiss mountains. The 78km marathon in July (which is partially run on tough mountain terrain) is notoriously competitive and difficult. If you're a less hardcore runner, there are also half-marathons and a gentle walk event that allows you to take your time and enjoy the scenery.
8. Hood to Coast Relay, Oregon, USA
Hood to Coast is one of the longest and largest relay races in the world and is on many a runner's bucket list. Running approximately 200 miles, the course goes from the slopes of Mount Hood (the tallest peak in Oregon), through the city of Portland and over the Oregon Coach Range before finishing in the beach town Seaside (no, really). It starts at 6am and continues overnight, finally finishing at around 11pm the following night, in August every year.
9. New York City Marathon, New York, USA
There are so many fantastic city marathons, but the New York City Marathon each November is one of the best. The 26.2 mile course takes you through New York's five unique boroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan), over multiple bridges and finishing in Central Park, where immense crowds will be waiting to cheer you home. A truly magical experience.
10. Nakukymppi - The Nude Run of Finland
One for the more open-minded amongst you, the Nakukymppi each June allows participants to run, walk or Nordic walk the 10km route along quiet forest roads. The catch? You're only allowed to wear shoes, socks and something on your head (although women may also opt for a top, if they choose). After you've completed the run, enjoy a coffee and snack free of charge and head to the nearby Telaranta campsite for swimming and sauna.