Updated: August 29th, 2012
Ten Top Running Races in the World

Runners of all levels are always searching for travel destinations that incorporate a fabulous vacation getaway and a great running race.  While elite runners will tend to travel to cities that offer the biggest prize money, it doesn’t mean that other runners can enjoy the same races. Obviously there are far too many outstanding races but any of the following ten races are worthy of consideration and among the best cities in the world in which to visit.

1)   Paris Marathon, Paris, France – Who wouldn’t want to run a race in one of the greatest cities in the world? The Paris Marathon should be high on anyone’s list and first time visitors to the City of Lights will be pleased to know that the course traverses past all of the most important sites, including the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Lourve Museum and of course, the Eiffel Tower.

2)   The Boston Marathon, Boston, USA – The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathons and unquestionably one of the most famous running races in the world. Unfortunately for the casual runner, most race entrants have to qualify in order to be among the approximately 20,000 runners at the starting line. But for many runners it is one of the most desired races to be a part of.

3)   The Bay to Breakers,San Francisco, USA-This popular 12K race is among the world’s largest in terms of participants and once held the attendance record. For anyone who loves running, this race is one that first time visitors will never forget. Many runners are dressed in all types of costumes, which makes for a Halloween-like occasion. First time visitors can expect to see people dressed as Batman, Spiderman, Elvis, Lady Gaga or practically any pop culture figure they can think of.

4)   Berlin Half Marathon, Berlin, Germany – While the Berlin Marathon is a more respected race and one of the five World Marathon Majors, the Berlin Half Marathon is one race in Germany that is growing in popularity. Held in April when the weather is normally perfect for a personal best, the race passes by many of the German capital’s attractions including the Berliner Dom, the Brandenburg Gate and the Kaiser Wilhelm Church.

5)   Tokyo Marathon, Tokyo, Japan – This popular marathon held in the nation’s capital attracts more than 30,000 entrants and allows everyone up to seven hours to complete the course. The course winds through many of the city’s important sites such as the Tokyo Tower, the Asakusa Gate and the Imperial Palace. For runners who still want to experience the Tokyo Marathon but want a shorter distance, there is a 10K race but entries are limited.

6)   Cursa El Corte Ingles, Barcelona, Spain – This race is the largest in Europe. Like the Berlin Half Marathon, the nearly 11K race in Barcelona, Spain, is held in April. Its most recent event had more than 65,000 participants race through some of the cities most important sites including the Olympic Stadium and the Plaza de Cataunya. In 1994, there were nearly 110,000 participants, which at the time was the world’s largest in terms of participants in history.

7)   The Lisbon Half Marathon, Lisbon, Portugal – This half marathon in the capital of Portugal has a very fast course and is another race where a runner can attempt a personal best. In fact the current men’s world’s record for the half marathon was set in this race in 2010. Held in March, the 21K course crosses the 25 de Abril Bridge, which crosses the Tagus River and closely resembles the appearance of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Over 30,000 participants were entered in the most recent race

8)   City2Surf, Sydney, Australia– One of the best running races in the Land Dow Under is City2Surf 14K race through the streets of the state capital of New South Wales. This is a huge event and more than 85,000 participants are expected to participate in the scenic race that ends at the famed Bondi Beach, one of the best beaches in Australia.

9) Rome Marathon, Rome, Italy – It would be difficult not to include a race in Italy, especially it’s largest and most important city. What’s makes this event even more attractive is its RomaFun 4K non-competive race attracts more than 85,000 runners and walkers. One of the cities most famous structures, the Coloseum is the backdrop for the starting line and once the race begins, will pass near other popular sites such as the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and the Vatican.

10 London Marathon, London, England – The London Marathon is among the five World Marathon Majors and is among the world’s largest running races. The event is currently the Guinness World Record holder for the largest annual fundraising event and has raised over £500 million. Participants will be able to enjoy all of the city’s top attractions, in particular Big Ben and Parliament, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace.

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