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If you missed the Boston Marathon earlier this week—don’t worry—there’s still plenty of marathons where you can risk injury to gain access to a gold medal. The Boston Marathon doesn’t really have a theme or anything clever going for it, so that’s why we’re glad we skipped it to focus on the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon.
The main even takes places on Sunday, May 1 where runners from across the nation and the globe will make their way through the city and to the Finish Swine—their words not ours—as quickly as possible. We’re not experts when it comes to road races, but this has got to be one of the few marathons that actually takes runners across a state line—here they even run into Kentucky.
Give us an exotic locale, and we'd happily run a marathon to enjoy the scenic setting. An upcoming race on our radar is the Volcano Half Marathon, which takes place in Montserrat, an island in the British West Indies. Okay, so maybe we're also really interested in the racer bling: All finishers get a medal made out of volcanic material.
The second annual event takes off November 27, but you may want to start training now for the more than 13-mile race. Registration is open.
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The real, -Berlin-Marathon
We know this is hard to hear in August when you're still barbecuing, hitting the beach and doing all those other summertime activities, but it's fall marathon training time. We found a couple of upcoming marathons that'll warm up both racers and spectators who love a good running competition in a great travel destination. Be sure to register ASAP and wear sunscreen while you're out training for these Big 3 marathons coming up:
· E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon
At this Nevada marathon, you just might run into E.T. About 2.5 hours north of Vegas, the course goes down Highway 375, a.k.a. Extraterrestrial Highway, which organizers say has one of the highest number of reported UFO sightings, and is right outside of Area 51. But if you see an alien, it most likely will be one of the racers, who tend to dress up for the occasion. The August 21 event includes a marathon, half-marathon, a 10K and 51K—in honor of Area 51. Online registration closes on August 19.
How's this for extreme sports: run a marathon in Antarctica a few hundred miles from the South Pole. In December. Plus, you'll be at an altitude of 3,000 feet and have to brave a windchill of -4 degrees. The 26.2-mile, eight-day Antarctic Ice Marathon is the southernmost marathon on Earth.
Although the December 12 marathon seems like a long ways away, now's the time to register. And you'll need a head-start to save up for the hefty price tag that's just shy of $17,000.
Marathoners will meet at Punta Arenas in Chile, and from there, a jet will bring you to the race site. The round-trip flight as well as the meals and accommodations in Antarctica are all included. But you'll have to bring your own gear to prevent freezing your bootie off.
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Halloween is always a party in New York, but this year several forces combined to make it even wilder than usual. First of all, it happened to fall on a Saturday this year, drawing that many more people out of their apartments and into the night. Second, the Yankees played the Phillies in Game 3 of the World Series - and won! - giving the barroom crowds a grand reason to order a few ill-advised rounds of shots. And third, the New York City Marathon took place the very next morning, giving the Halloween revelers some great human drama to wake up and soothe their hangovers to. Add to that the extra hour of weekend we got because of the end of Daylight Savings Time and you've got a city with every reason to cut loose.
We love taking in the sights of the season from the comfort of the car. It’s nice to get out and breath in the cool crisp air, but usually it’s best to do that when stopping for lunch or refilling our cup holder with a pumpkin spice latte. However, we do recognize that there are a large number of citizens that enjoy the fresh air that the fall season brings. That’s why we’re suggesting the ING Hartford Marathon for a solid active travel option for the autumn season.
Connecticut’s capital city is pretty sleepy after the workday ends, so it’s population will swell when thousands of runners hit the streets on October 10. There’s even still time to register, just head out to packet pick-up on October 9, and they’ll be happy to sign you up. You’ll enjoy cool weather, peak foliage, and some nice scenery as you do your best to keep your pace along the banks of the Connecticut River. Overall the course is pretty flat as well, so you might just be able to reach that personal best. After all, this marathon can get you into the Boston one if you go fast enough.
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If you’ve got a lengthy layover in Salt Lake City and are looking to make the most of it, you might be interested in the Utah Valley Marathon. Starting bright on early this Saturday, June 13, the race takes places only 50 miles south of the airport and is fairly convenient to several National forests. So after the race you can enjoy even more physical activity.
There’s no cheesy stuff to keep you motivated during this course, just nature at its finest. Runners will be surrounded by mountains on all sides while following canyon roads that run along the Provo River and swing by Utah Lake. For the most part you’ll be headed down hill, so if you’re new to running, this should be a good pick. Also, this race is USATF certified, so a good time can help you qualify for the bigger races, like the Boston Marathon.
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If you often reminisce about the early 1990s and how much fun you had racing around orange cones with your Rollerblades, then you might want to head to Minnesota. After all, the state pretty much created the inline skating craze thanks to all those depressed ice hockey fans sitting around all summer (thanks Wikipedia).
Beginning bright and early on June 13, avid inline skaters will grease their bearings and warm up for the Baxter Inline Marathon. The race has attracted skaters from all over the US and Canada since 2001, and it just keeps on going. Apparently they’re all in search of the Scary Man Trophy—some kind of wooden tiki-trophy gone wild that features a grass skirt and a mean face.
One of the most-covered travel stories over the past few years has been the rise of voluntourism and do-gooder vacations. But we've also noticed an uptick in do-good-for-yourself vacations—scheduling a trip around a big athletic event like a marathon or bike race.
So as spring marathon season swings into full gear, we'll be looking at some of the marquee 26-milers around the world (especially the ones in places we love to visit).
Coming up on April 24 is a somewhat surprising entry—the Tel Aviv Marathon. The race is back after a 15-year hiatus, starting up again as part of this Israeli city's centennial celebration. The marathon course is appealing for anyone who wants to get a good look at this diverse city—it winds through the Old City and Park HaYarkon, ending along Tel Aviv's main draw—the stunning Mediterranean beachfront. The race, which also includes 5K and 10K versions, is expected to bring 15,000 runners.
· Run the Tel Aviv Marathon for 100 years of history [Israel 21c]
· Marathons coverage [Jaunted]
· Israel travel coverage [Jaunted]
There's nothing wrong with combining your love of travel with your fondness for exercise, but some people take it to the extreme. We came upon an interesting story about ultramarathonning this morning while sipping coffee and scanning random bits on the web, and decided to find out more about it. It almost hurts to read it because we're feeling a bit sluggish today. We had a small solstice party last night, and an ultramarathon sounds like the exact opposite of what we could handle at the moment, making the people who run these multi-day, hundred-kilometer-plus races seem all the more amazing.
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Oh, bowling and swimming weren't sporty enough for you? The country of Lebanon doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, which is just as well because you're not going to want to eat a classic turkey-and-potatoes dinner before the Beirut International Marathon on November 30. Well, the potatoes, maybe, but not the turkey.
The fifth annual run devotes its proceeds to cancer research and tracks along the city's Mediterranean coastline to the mellifluous tones of Miss Lebanon 2007. With average temperatures this time a year a balmy 66 degrees, runners won't feel the need to shed multiple layers of clothing along the 42 km route--which is good, 'cause you'll need to save that money you would have spent on Under Armour for the $1,100 round-trip plane ticket. (Know about a deal? Let us know!)
We hope you've already been training, though, because the deadline to run in this race is Saturday. (Underprepared? Consider the 5K "Mini Marathon" or 10K "Fun Run." Not that marathons aren't fun... right?)
Well that was fast. It's barely 12:30 p.m. and the elite runners in the 2008 ING New York City Marathon are already finished, leaving the 26.2 mile course to the 38,000 or so slowpokes who don't enjoy the benefit of an early start time. We were up sort of early this morning due to the time change and wandered over to Greenpoint to check out some of the wheelchair athletes, who are among the first on the course. Rock bands were setting up on Bedford Avenue (Runnin' With the Devil is a particularly popular song on this stretch) and volunteers were pouring water and Gatorade into little cups in preparation for the onslaught of runners that are now chugging by. If you've never seen the marathon in person before, you might find the excitement surrounding it a little perplexing. After all, it's just a bunch of skinny people wearing spandex and looking miserable. But once you join the crowds that line the streets and cheer on a seemingly endless flow of amateur athletes - each with their own reasons for running - it's impossible to deny the raw, emotional power of this most ancient of sporting pastimes. You might even be inspired to sign up for next year's marathon. We'll get right on that, after lunch.
[Photo: Victor Ozols]