Plan a race | Top 30 marathon cities


After more than two years of COVID-19 travel bans and restrictions, the world is opening up again. And with vaccines readily available, avid travelers can explore safely again. Simply put, there’s never been a better time to plan a racecation.

But with nearly 200 countries around the world, choosing a destination can be downright daunting. If you’re thinking of traveling overseas for your next race, but aren’t sure where to go, you’re in luck.

HotelFollower released a top 30 list of marathon cities around the world. The website analyzed and ranked the events based on metrics critical to race day success – like average temperature and rainfall during the month of the race, air pollution and recent levels of COVID. They also factored in the price of admission, a weekend night hotel, and locally brewed beer.

All continents except Australia and Antarctica graced the top 30, with more than 20 marathons in Europe alone. Spain and Germany both had three marathons on the list – tied for most of any country.

Here is an overview of the best destinations:

Kosice Peace Marathon, Kosice, Slovakia. Next race: October 2, 2022. Looking for your next road marathon? The Kosice Peace Marathon has been held in Slovakia’s largest city since 1924, making it the oldest marathon in Europe and the third oldest in the world. In addition to its legendary look, it’s an affordable choice. The cost to enter is $40, a hotel costs an average of $70 per weekend night, and a local beer costs less than $2. Race day conditions are also likely to be favorable, with an average October temperature of 57 degrees Fahrenheit.

Windermere Marathon, Ambleside, UK. Next race: May 21, 2023. Do you prefer running in nature? The Windermere Marathon is one of the few marathons held entirely within a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features a full circuit of England’s largest natural lake: Windermere. The unique location means pollution levels are low and the average temperature in May is 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The entry fee is $54, with a local beer averaging $3.94. The only downside? Hotel prices average $219.

Valencia Marathon, Valencia, Spain. Next race: December 4, 2022. Do you like flat courses? This race is for you. The Valencia Marathon takes place in the historic port city, full of culture, cuisine and sights. That means you’ll have plenty to do before or after the race. Turia Gardens even includes a 5K circuit, perfect for your deconfinement race. Temperatures are optimal, averaging 63 degrees Fahrenheit in December. The ride is also budget-friendly, with an entry fee of $61, an average hotel night of $113 on weekends, and a local beer costing around $3.

Here is the rest of the top 10:

4. San Sebastian Marathon – San Sebastian, Spain

5. Ljubljana Marathon – Ljubljana, Slovenia

6. Loch Ness Marathon – Loch Ness, Scotland

seven. madrid marathon – Madrid, Spain

seven. Vienna Marathon – Vienna, Austria

9. Marrakesh Marathon -Marrakech, Morocco

ten. Frankfurt Marathon – Frankfurt, Germany

athletes participate in the peace marathon
Athletes take part in the Peace Marathon in Kosice on October 3, 2010.


Convinced to book your next race? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Jet lag is inevitable, so why not plan for it? If you can, arrive a few days before your race so your body can acclimate.

Randy Wilber, sports physiologist at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, said this extra time allows you to “put your legs under you, adapt to the new time zone and be physically and psychologically ready to run”.

If you’re planning an extended trip, consider scheduling your run in advance. This lets you focus on touring without worrying about getting too many miles before the race.

Try to pack all race essentials, including food, hydration and gear, in your carry-on to avoid any problems due to lost luggage. Make a race and travel plan, but remember to stay flexible. When traveling, especially overseas, unforeseen complications, delays and hiccups are common – take them head on and you’ll have a more enjoyable ride and adventure.

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