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Top 10 Marathons to Join in Asia

So you have finished a marathon. Congratulations and welcome to the club!

After that amazing feat you are asking for more and you suddenly find yourself planning for the next sweet 42.195kms finish. Maybe this list would help you decide for your next marathon run:

1. Great Wall Marathon, China.

The route starts with a 9kms of steep up and down climb. Don’t worry because after this you would find your feet traipsing scenic villages and ricefields. If this is not welcome treat, think about ticking off something from your bucketlist- see The Great Wall of China. Do loads of hill training as you would be finishing where you started- 9kms of up and down climb. So you experience the dreaded “wall” in the Great Wall. :)

So what are you waiting for? Search quick for a Low-cost airfare to China now.

Happens every May.

2. Taj Mahal Marathon, India.

Don’t tell me you didn’t dreamed of seeing Taj Mahal up close and personal? So while you are into it, why not schedule a marathon during your trip. Please do remember that weather here is too much to handle. Marathoners should do lots of heat training when joining this. Ohh, before I forget, the route ends with a full view of Taj Mahal- a great motivation when runners are hitting “the wall”.

Do you know that Taj Mahal Marathon is also included in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Places to Run a Marathon?

Photo from www.spectrumtour.com

Happens every October

3. Tokyo Marathon, Japan.

Tokyo Marathon is one of the most attended marathons in Asia with more than 25,000 marathoners joining the event. The route starts at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and runs through Tokyo Imperial Palace - Hibiya Park - Shinagawa - Ginza - Nihonbashi - Asakusa - Tsukiji then finishes ar Tokyo Big Sight.

Happens every February.

4. Sundown Marathon, Singapore.

Be unique. run a marathon at nightfall. Duh? That’s why its called sundown. Sundown Marathon organizers make use of SG’s lovely parks while planning the route. They bring runners through east’s urban parks as well as major local landmarks like Bedok Reservoir, East Coast Park and the Changi Ferry Terminal. So its a tour of Singapore too! Plus you don’t have to worry about the humid Asian weather.

Happens every May.

5. Laguna Phuket International Marathon, Thailand.

I’ve been dreaming of this marathon a lot of this for the past years. Not only that the route is amazing, you will have a very nice course out and back of Laguna. You will pass by local villages, pineapple and rubber plantations. Not yet decided? Think about Phuket and its lush vegetation and island feel.

Happens every June.

5. Milo Marathon, Philippines.

This is the oldest marathon in the Philippines and maybe one of the oldest in Asia. Now running its 36th year, this marathon is the number one marathon event in the Philippines. Both elites and hobbyists target this 26.2 race because this is the most famous and fastest in the country. Everyone wants to beat the cut-off time and tries to qualify for the finals that happens before the year ends.

Photo from Running Photographers FB page

Happens every July and December

6. Istanbul Euroasia Marathon, Turkey.

The most unique of all as one not only runs in Asia but crosses to Europe via the First Bosphorus Bridge. The route includes many historic sites- the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia; it  ends in the İnönü Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey. After learning about this, I guess I will be adding this to my personal list.

Happend every October.

7. Seoul International Marathon, South Korea.

Run with atleast 30,000 Koreans during this race. This 26.2-mile foot race is also known as the Dong-A Ilbo Seoul Marathon. This marathon traces back its history in 1931. The race  begins at Gwanghwamun Plaza in the city centre and finishes within the Olympic Stadium. What a glorious finish for marathoners eh?

Happens every March

8. Standard Chartered KL Marathon, Malaysia.

Starts at Dataran Merdeka or public square, this is a crowd drawer, well Standard Chartered Marathons are known to be the most organized races in Asia. Just look into their oficial website- every question is answered there.

Happens every June

9. Tainan International Marathon, Taiwan.

Also called “Tainan Ancient Capital International Marathon” happens in the Tainan, Taiwan’s fifth largest city, and passes through some important ecological sites such as  Anping Waterfowl Reserve, the Sihoao Wildlife Refuge, and the Ciga Wildlife Refuge.

Happens every January.

10. Jerusalem Marathon, Israel.

They brand this as “Breathtaking Jerusalem Marathon” and I believe this has to be picturesque at best. Route includes The Knesset, Supreme Court Bldg, Zion Gate, Ammunition Hill, Jaffa Gate and Sultan’s Pool among the places to see. The course was especially selected to recount Jerusalem’s 3000-year historical narrative since the beginning of its existence. Perfect for history buffs. What more, you visit the Holy Land.

Happens every March


If the list of 10 marathons is not yet enough, then maybe Everest Marathon and Oman Desert Marathon, both happens November, can still be added on the list. Warning thought, these 3 are some of the toughest in Asia.

So what are you waiting for? Plan your next 26.2.

Remember: Finishing a marathon is an accomplishment that less than 1% of all the people in the world can say they have achieved.


Note: Most photos grabbed from Google.com
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  1. June 21st, 2014 at 12:05 | #1

    The second Oman Desert Marathon

    Welcome to the second Oman Desert Marathon, to be held from 07 – 14 November 2014 in the Bidaya Desert, Sultanate of Oman. We invite you to take part in an exceptional marathon adventure, one of the most extraordinary sporting events on sand, and an extreme challenge in the amazing and beautiful desert scenery.

    The Oman desert, with its immense dunes and lush palms, is fascinating. The dunes extend beyond the horizon, and the hospitality of its inhabitants is known around the world. The spirit of the ancient caravans can still be felt in this amazing atmosphere, encouraging not only top athletes, but also less energetic runners.

    The Oman Desert Marathon is a 165 km race, run in six stages.

    Runners carry their equipment, their sleeping bags and their food during the adventure.


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