A marathon is a bucket-list experience in itself – and Europe is a continent worthy of running one.
Race through Rome’s cobblestone roads, sprint to the sound of Mozart in the country he was born or soak up the cheers of friendly Parisian crowds. Whether you’re training for your first marathon or have caught the bug; running for charity or for body-betterment; these European destinations simply must be conquered.
1. Athens Authentic Marathon
The true original – every marathon runner should do the Athens Authentic Marathon once in their lifetime. It’s where it all began, hailing from Greek mythology, when Pheidippides ran 26.2 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persians. Follow in his footsteps, sweeping through gorgeous Grecian villages and finishing at the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 – the Panathenaic Stadium.
2. Schneider Electric Paris Marathon
Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower… if running through Paris’s most breathtaking landmarks isn’t enough to spur you on, the lively music and encouraging cries of ‘allez, allez!’ surely will. Schneider Electric Paris Marathon is the third biggest race in Europe, kicking off at Avenue des Champs-Élysées and taking you along the River Seine before a victorious finish in view of the glorious Arc de Triomphe.
3. Rome Marathon
Obtaining a race bib for Rome Marathon should be on every runner’s bucket list. The long-distance run winds past some of the city’s greatest sights – the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, Vatican City and Saint Peter’s Basilica to name a few. It’s quite literally the most breathtaking whistlestop tour you’ll ever get – one reviewer even went as far as saying Rome’s beauty made them forget their painful, aching limbs. And if that’s not enough to get you there, here are three words that might: pre-race pasta party.
4. Vienna City Marathon
The Vienna City Marathon attracts more than 42,000 from 130 nations, blending Austria’s remarkable heritage and culture with high-impact athletics. A regular winner of the IAAF Road Race Gold Label, this is the ideal course for those who like to pick up the pace – some of the fastest runners in the world have won here. More than 10km of the course has melodies of Mozart or Vienna-born Strauss pumping out, and the thought of a traditional Viennese pancake post-race is sure to get you over that finish line.
5. BMW Berlin Marathon
Not much can make a 26.2-mile race less punishing, but zipping through Berlin’s streets certainly helps. The BMW Berlin Marathon doesn’t do things by halves: it’s one of the biggest, flattest and fastest in the world. Your start and finish point is Brandenburg Gate, passing along iconic landmarks such Reichstag, the Berliner Dom and Potsdamer Platz in between. Runners from all over the globe come to Germany to try and break records – it’s smooth course has virtually no corners, unlike many around Europe. We’d expect nothing less of one of the coolest cities in Europe.
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Image sources and Credits:
Image Credit 1. Athens Authentic Marathon – © iStock images
Image Credit 2. Schneider Electric Paris Marathon – © iStock images
Image Credit 4. Vienna City Marathon Vienna City Marathon 2015 – Reichsbrücke (3).JPG © Bwag/Wikimediaor © Bwag/Commons or © Bwag/CC-BY-SA-4.0
Image Credit 5. BMW Berlin Marathon © This image, which was originally posted to Flickr, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 20 September 2011, 21:05 by Globalwheels. CC BY-SA 2.0