The world’s first marathon, the source that inspires our modern day running event, was completed by a hot Greek chap to announce his countrymen’s victory over the Persians back in 530 BC. Cut to the 21st century when we have so many marathons—close to 30 large-scale ones held across the country—that runners can end up spending a fair amount of time just sitting and researching which one to pick.
So we’ve narrowed it down to a neat little list for all you enthu-cutlets bored of running in cities. It applies to marathon regulars looking for a landscape change, as well as those swish couch potatoes who claim that the metro’s just too dirty to run in.
1. Run The Rann
The fourth edition of Run the Rann is set in its usual classic setting – the Great Rann of Kutch – one of the world’s largest salt deserts. Spread over 161 km to be covered in races over three days, this is one of most challenging marathons you can pitch yourself against, and also one of the most spectacular. Find out more about the desert race here.
2. Running And Living With The Tiger
Organised by Running and Living, which describes itself as ‘a marketing company with a passion for running’, the 7th edition of the Corbett Marathon is a cross-country trail weaving through Himalayan foothills. The uneven terrain means you could sprain your foot, so opt for the half-marathon and take it easy if you’re an amateur. Register before 12th March. The same company also organises a half-marathon in Sangla Valley of Himachal Pradesh in May.
3. Ladakh Marathon
This one is only for seasoned runners for the obvious reason that the race takes place at a dizzying altitude. There are four races organised as part of the event, and of these, the one that will truly take you panting to the top of the world is the ‘Khardungla Challenge’ ultra marathon. If you just want a taste of it in small doses, go for the ‘Run Ladakh For Fun’ around Leh. It is a 7-km run and you get a medal regardless of how slow you go. Register here.
4. Kaveri Trail Marathon
Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka
Chances of getting distracted by gorgeously trippy flying objects called birds are extremely high on this race; don’t say we didn’t warn you! This 10-km trail runs along the canal of the meandering Kaveri and can be done in about 2 hours, whereas the half-marathon and marathon can go up to 7 hours. Follow this link.
5. Goa River Marathon
We perfectly well understand that Kutch and Ladakh are a tad extreme, and that is why Goa will rescue and let you take it easy again. Or at least let you run knowing you can take it easy soon after! There are a number of promo and training runs organised July onwards, but the final race day will be a 42.195-km run starting from Chicalim. Easy, you ask? Okay, go for the 5-km Charity Fun Walk-Run. You can’t go slower. Remember to register here.
Image Credit: Ladakhmarathon