Whether you’ve been running for years or are brand new to the sport, if you start training now, and follow our training guide, you should have enough time to be ready for a fall marathon. The list below features a selection of well-known and iconic fall marathons - the kind that you might want to chalk off your bucket list.
This is the world’s largest marathon and, last year, some 53,315 people started. Roughly 99% (or 52,813) of them finished as well. Getting in is no easy feat and of the 117,709 applicants this year, just 10,510 have been accepted. The marathon is popular with spectators too and, in 2018, an estimated crowd of over 1 million people lined the course to (loudly) cheer athletes on.
The marathon starts on Staten Island and ends in Central Park. It has been run since 1970 and is among the World Marathon Majors - so there’s some serious prizes up for grabs. For most runners, however, just being part of the same race as some of the world’s most elite athletes (in one of the world’s most popular cities) is motivation enough.
The “original” marathon. According to legend, the Athens course covers the same ground run by messenger Phiedippides (or Philippides) when he brought news of the Greek victory over the Persians from the battlefield of Marathon some 2,500 years ago. His journey is said to be the inspiration for the modern day marathon event. The race ends in Athens’ magnificent Olympic Stadium - also known as the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games, so it’s certainly packed with culture and history. In terms of terrain, the first 12km of the run are flat, the middle section features gentle hills and the last 11km are all downhill.
The Shanghai Marathon is one of China’s most popular. The course starts at the famous Bund Bull sculpture and finishes at Shanghai Stadium. En route, runners navigate the city center and run alongside the Huangpu River. Some 150,000 people are expected to apply to take part so if you are interested, you’d best move fast to sign up. A draw will be held in the months building up to the event to determine which runners get to take part. As a little extra incentive, this marathon is said to offer free massages after the race.
Another big one. This Amsterdam event is expected to attract upwards of 45,000 people from 120 different countries. Featuring a flat circular route through parts of the picturesque city center, the race starts and ends at the Olympic stadium. It’s one of the world’s fastest courses too, so a good one if you’re looking for a new PB. Runners pass the Rijksmuseum and Vondelpark, and part of the course lines the banks of the river Amstel too. This year’s outing will be the 45th on record.
Want something a little different?
The Bagan Temple run has to be one of the most exotic and visually appealing on the planet. Nestled away in central Myanmar, Bagan is home to more than 2,000 temples - many of which athletes pass on their run. The stunning natural landscape and self-described “other-worldly atmosphere” make this marathon something of a collector’s item and certainly a unique prospect. In terms of terrain, the course is relatively flat. But the hot and humid climate can represent more of a challenge - particularly if you’re not used to high temperatures.
They call this one the “coolest marathon in the world” - and for good reason. Taking place inside the Arctic circle, race temperatures fluctuate between -10 to -15 degrees Celsius. This makes the run very challenging - even for seasoned athletes with all the right gear. As well as the grueling marathon distance, you’ll have to contend with subzero temperatures, subpar terrain and substantially more dangerous conditions than you’ll be used to. Not one for the faint of heart. However, if the Bagan Temple run doesn’t take the title of the world’s most unique, then this must be a contender.
The marathons above are, of course, just suggestions to get you started. Wherever you choose to do your marathon, it’s more important that you are fully prepared. Do you have a fall marathon you’d love to finish one day? Get in touch on social media - we’re on Facebook and Instagram and we’d love to hear from you!