Happy Monday! There are officially only 3 more Mondays until the end of the year! A little crazy huh? With that in mind and the fact that the Honolulu Marathon is on this weekend, this weeks must-have is a destination/vacation race! What better way to go somewhere awesome then to run?
In fact, my first race (in 2013) was the Toronto Yonge Street 10K over in Canada. I hadn’t seen much of the city previously (short of walking between the shopping centre and the Hockey Hall of Fame) so when I was (by chance) in the city when this race was on, I jumped at the opportunity to run through Toronto.
This year, I decided super early to run in the Disneyland Half Marathon. You have to decide whether to run in this one about 9 months before you actually front up to the start line. This was my destination race for 2014 and I made sure that I took part in almost EVERYTHING – including the new Welcome Event that took place the Thursday of the Half Marathon weekend. The only activity I didn’t take part in was the Pasta in the Park party, purely as I’m not much value when it comes to buffets! Recaps on the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend can be found here – Welcome Event, 5K, 10K, Half.
So now that we are coming to the end of the year, what are some super awesome destination races that are around?
- The Hapalua Half Marathon (Honolulu USA, April) – I seriously was considering this one but I just couldn’t fit it in. What better way to spend a vacation than running 21km around Hawaii? If you prefer to run the full distance, there’s the Honolulu Marathon in December.
- Queenstown International Marathon (NZ, November) – Half Marathon and 10K distances also available. What better way to spend a morning running around middle earth? I have added the half on the list of “must-dos” as the race pictures look absolutely stunning.
- Yosemite National Park Half Marathon (USA, October) – I absolutely love this National Park and would love to run this race. A look at the course shows that it is downhill for a good 10 miles (16km) and finishes up on Bass Lake. It must be noted that this race isn’t run completely within the park boundaries as the National Parks are set up for the preservation of the environment and should continue this way.
- WDW Marathon Weekend (Florida USA, January) – It’s too late to enter for 2015, however registrations for 2016 open in April. Costumes, characters and running around the land is all that’s needed to make sure this is a must-have race. If you are slow enough, you also have the opportunity to ride a roller coaster mid-race!
- Midnight Sun Run (Iceland, June) – Seriously, it’s running late at night, in Iceland. Is there any more reason to not want to do it? There are three distances – Half, 10k and 5k and you can choose whether you want a medal or not at time of registration. PLUS you get entry into the neighbouring geothermal pools post-race.
- Great Wall Marathon (China, May) – I would love to visit the Great Wall, but was amazed to find out that you can also run part of it! Again, three distances are offered – Full, Half and a fun 5.5k and you have to battle stairs!
It’s important when running in historical or natural locations to pay attention to the race organisers attitude to the location – Vacation Races, who run the Yosemite Half Marathon only offer certain methods for refreshment along the course in order to minimise the impact on the environment. While it’s awesome we get to the opportunity to run through these places, it’s no good to cause so much damage that others don’t get to experience it.
What is your must-run destination race?