Heralded as the home of safari, Kenya remains one of Africa’s most popular destinations whether for a first time encounter or return visit. Kenya will offer you a true Out of Africa experience with the wildlife-strewn Masai Mara, flamingo-filled Rift Valley lakes, vibrant Maasai and Samburu tribes, Laikipia’s wilderness, Samburu’s elephants, palm-fringed Indian Ocean coastline and much more awaiting you.
Top 5 marathons around the world
If you reckon you could take on the epic challenge of a marathon, why not consider looking a little further from home? Teaming this crazy contemplation with the idea of heading off on an exotic holiday makes it suddenly seem much more appealing, and what's more, once you've completed the marathon you can chill out for the rest of the trip and dive into the country's cuisine, completely guilt-free! So, take a look at our pick of the top five marathons around the world, and don your trainers and take to the streets with running fever!
Lewa Marathon, Kenya
The world-renowned Lewa conservancy lies to the north of Mount Kenya and borders the Laikipia region. One of the leading lights in Kenyan conservation efforts, the focus here is on providing sanctuary to endangered rhinos, as well as supporting community efforts. One of the highlights of the Lewa year is the marathon through the conservancy in June, which a number of the Imagine team have completed. With Mount Kenya to the south and breath-taking views north towards Samburu and Mount Ololokwe, the course is set on dirt roads that take runners on an undulating journey through the reserve, across savannah plains, along river banks and through acacia woodland, before finishing close to Lewa’s headquarters. If you don’t think you can manage the full marathon, there’s an option of a half too.
If you time it right you can combine the Lewa Marathon with a safari and beach adventure on our Classic Kenya itinerary.
Patagonian Marathon, Chile
The Patagonian Marathon takes place within the awe-inspiring Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia. Designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1978, the park is internationally known for its incredible trekking and hiking, as well as being home to beautiful flora and an abundance of wildlife, including guanacos, flamingos and condors. It is no surprise then, that the race route of the Patagonian Marathon has magical views of breath-taking landscapes, with mountains of granite and ice rising more than 2,500 meters above the route. Once again, there are shorter options available including a half marathon and a 10k route, so there’s little stopping you from giving it a go!
Take your family with you to cheer you on! You can build the Patagonian Marathon into our Argentina and Chile Family Adventure.
New York City Marathon, USA
Bold, sassy and infinitely stylish, New York is one of the world’s most iconic cities and it hosts the world’s largest marathon, with over 50,000 finishers each year. Taking runners through all five states of New York, the race begins on Staten Island and passes through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and The Bronx, before returning to Manhattan to finish up in Central Park. Whether you’ve run a marathon before or this is your first one, this world-famous running event is definitely an exciting experience to be a part of. And once you’ve ticked off the marathon you certainly won’t tire of things to do here – walk the Highline, have a picnic in Central Park or head out to the vineyards of Long Island’s North Fork.
Incorporate the New York City Marathon in our New York and New England Full Circle itinerary and you can be part of the largest marathon in the world.
Tokyo Marathon, Japan
The sheer level of energy in Tokyo is possibly the most striking aspect of Japan’s capital, and it’s fair to say this reaches its pinnacle on marathon day! Runners are enchanted by the excitement and energy of the world's ultimate neon metropolis as they make their way around this buzzing course. Starting at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and making their way through a number of Tokyo’s main districts, runners of the 2017 Tokyo Marathon will cross the finish line in front of the Imperial Palace grounds with the iconic red-tiled roof of Tokyo Station to their backs. This is a new course, which has been changed from previous years with the aim of adding the ‘wow factor’ to the finish line and showing Tokyo off to its full potential. Those looking for a less energetic challenge can opt for a simple 10k route, allowing you more time to spend relaxing in Tokyo’s beautifully landscaped tranquil gardens.
Include the Tokyo Marathon in a journey through the Great Cities and Mountains of Japan and experience the hustle and bustle of this fantastic city first-hand.
Everest Marathon, Nepal
This is a bit of a wild card entry and certainly isn’t for everyone… In fact, we would be incredibly impressed if we managed to find even one person willing to take on this epic challenge, which comes with the tagline ‘the highest marathon in the world’. However, for that reason alone we think it deserves a mention in our top five marathons around the world. The route itself is mainly downhill (starting at 17,000 feet and descending to around 11,000 feet), but due to the rough terrain and high altitude, it is an extremely testing course and requires runners to arrive in Nepal a good week or more before the race to allow for an acclimatisation period. The few runners each year that are fit (and crazy) enough to take on this true test of endurance are rewarded with stunning mountain scenery as they run through Sherpa villages, past monasteries and beneath the towering icy peaks of this hauntingly beautiful mountain range.
Not sure you’re cut out for the world’s highest marathon but like the idea of trekking through this breath-taking mountain scenery? Take a look at our Luxury Everest Trek which lets you take on mighty Everest while staying in the region’s best lodges.