Summer is around the corner and busy weekends, road trips and weddings are starting to fill up our calendars. For those of us who love to run, the idea of combining a passion for the pavement with a unique and picturesque summer travel destination is too hard to resist. We’ve compiled our top five bucket list marathons that offer more than just a challenging run this year, straight from scenic Iceland to sunny Australia:
Run The Inca Trail
June 4 to June 12, 2016, and August 6 to August 14, 2016
The Inca Trail marathon is considered one of the most difficult in the world but remains on the bucket list of many serious marathon runners. After all, would you give up the chance to visit one of the biggest wonders of the new world?
Rather than a typical marathon sprint, the distance is split over four days where runners trek along 10 different eco systems, including cloud forests and dry plains to see some of the most stunning vistas known to man. The marathon ends with a stunning sunrise at Machu Picchu—perhaps the greatest reward one can ask for at the end of 26.2 miles!
More info at AndesAdventures.com
Explore The Swiss Alps On Foot
July 30, 2016
Nestled in the Swiss Alps, the small town of Davos is known for skiing in the winter and a stunning marathon course in the summer that attracts travelers from around the globe. The Alps bring a (literal) breath of fresh air for runners. Along with a traditional marathon, extreme runners can take part in the 48+ mile ultramarathon.
This destination can be a true family affair, with free, shorter-distance races for kids so everyone can take part in the fun.
More info at SwissAlpine.ch
Get Moving With Grandma’s Marathon
June 18, 2016
Runners looking to stay closer to home this summer have options right here in the US, so there is no need to wait for the busy Fall marathon season. Grandma’s Marathon in North Minnesota is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
This point-to-point course runs along the scenic Highway 61, tracing the picturesque north shore of Lake Superior. The town comes alive with entertainment for the entire weekend, including a rock concert on Friday night. Just be sure not to stay out too late or you'll miss the race!
More info at GrandmasMarathon.com
Warm Up In Iceland
August 20, 2016
Iceland has become one of the top travel destinations in the world. The small country seems even more magical when explored on foot.
The land of waterfalls, volcanoes and pristine countryside is hosting the 33rd 2016 Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon in August. The city is also hosting Reykjavik Culture Night on August 20 so visitors can enjoy a taste of Icelandic culture, including live music, fireworks, and free shuttle buses to all attractions. Weary runners may choose to unwind the next day in Iceland’s iconic geothermal waters at the Blue Lagoon, one of the 25 wonders of the world, and perfect for soothing sore muscles.
More info at Marathon.is
Go Down Under
Gold Coast, Australia
July 2 -3, 2016
The Gold Coast of Australia would normally be unbearably hot for distance running but this Aussie-winter marathon with low humidity creates the perfect conditions to enjoy its scenic beauty and sunshine. The course is fast and flat and attracts more than 27,000 participants each year.
If you’re making the trek across the globe, visit the nearby city of Brisbane or keep heading north to Beerwah, Queensland, where you can visit the late crocodile hunter Steve Erwin’s Australia Zoo for the ultimate Aussie wildlife adventure for the whole family.
More info at GoldCoastMarathon.com
Which iconic marathon is on your bucket list this year? Tell us in the comments below and who knows, maybe we'll be running right alongside you as we add it to our list.