great wall marathon

Are you an avid runner that wants to change up the scenery? Here are 5 Asian marathons you need to do!

With the Australian winter nearly, running enthusiasts are lucky enough to be able to head north to race in some incredible marathons across Asia. Still, there are marathons that happen all year, with courses running through some seriously stunning scenery. Run high in the mountains, through one of the Seven Wonders of the World, in an ancient city and along a beach. The possibilities are endless, and the scenery spectacular. If you’re a marathon runner and want to try something different, these are 5 Asian marathons you need to do.

Great Wall Marathon: China

Join around 2,500 others from 50 nations around the world in a race through one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Great Wall Marathon not only offers some magnificent scenery, but also happens to be one of the most challenging marathons in the world. If you’re up for the challenge, head to Beijing for the May 18th marathon, which starts and finishes at Yin and Yang square in the old Huangyaguan fortress. Race up over 20,000 stone steps, some of which are 40 centimetres high, and encounter hazards like loose stones, missing steps, gravel and crumbling sections of the wall. Plus, you will be running to a height of around 200 metres. There is a full marathon, half-marathon and 8.5 kilometre route, with courses running on parts of the ancient wall.

Great Wall marathon
Steps, step, and steps…

Angkor Empire Marathon; Cambodia

Since 2014, the Cambodian government has held the Angkor Empire Marathon to raise money for various local charities, including the Angkor Hospital for Children and Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital. One of the premier Asian Marathons, the course goes through the spectacular Angkor Archaeological Park that dates back to the early 12th century. Explore the ruins as you race though this famous UNESCO World Heritage Site along with roughly 3,500 others from all over the world. There is a full marathon and a half marathon, as well as a shorter 10 kilometre and 3 kilometre race. Regardless, this marathon truly is a unique experience, running through ancient temples, ruins, rice fields and natural scenery. If you can’t make the August 4th marathon, there’s also a half marathon in December (Angkor Wat International Half Marathon).

Angor Wat marathon

Laguna Phuket Marathon; Thailand

Combine a beach holiday with a marathon by heading to Phuket in June for the Laguna Phuket Marathon. The two-day asian marathon takes place on June 8th and 9th, with 10.5K and 5k runners racing on the 8th, while full and half marathon runners hit the course on the 9th. This year will be the 14th year that the marathon is held, and organisers are expecting around 12,000 people to participate. Run along a picture perfect coastline in northwest Phuket, spotting sites along the way. The views are spectacular, as is the cause – supporting schools, marine conservation and children in need. Be sure not to miss the Rasta Party on the eve of the marathon to fill yourself up on a delicious buffet and mingle with other runners.

Ladakh Marathon; India

Held from September 6th to 8th, the Ladakh Marathon is the highest marathon in the world. Well, its Khardung La Challenge is, which reaches 5,370 metres and covers a distance of 72 kilometres. You will need to arrive in Leh at least one week ahead of time to allow yourself to acclimatise, as the marathon starts at 3,500 metres above sea level. But it’s a beautiful place that is something straight from an edition of National Geographic, so runners will enjoy every second of their acclimatisation. There are four different races, each of which take place in and around the capital city of Leh. You will run through jaw dropping landscapes of mountain vistas, valleys and rivers, which is why it’s often pegged as the most beautiful marathon in the world. Only 150 people can participate in the 72 kilometre Khardung La Challenge, which you have 14 hours to complete. Everyone else can run in the marathon, half marathon or fun run, all of which take place on Sunday, September 8th.

Indian marathon

Bali Marathon; Indonesia

If you’d rather stay closer to home, the Bali Marathon is also happening on September 8th.  This is a great way to see the stunning landscapes of the island and experience the Balinese culture as the local children cheer you on and traditional Balinese music is played in the background. Thousands of people arrive from all over the globe to participate in the Bali Marathon, which is organised by Maybank. There are three marathons (full, half marathon and 10K), as well as two kids races and a marathon for those in a wheelchair. The marathon takes place in Gianyar, starting and finishing at the Bali Safari Marine Park. Anyone can participate, but it should be noted that at around the 35 kilometre point the course reaches an elevation of 119 metres above sea level.

bali marathon