For the laid-back types who enjoy soaking up the sights and sounds around them, relaxing on a beach is usually the perfect vacation.
But then there are those who want to be immersed in all the action around them – and utilizing every muscle in their body to do so. For these thrill-seekers and fitness enthusiasts, a vacation full of exhilarating challenges is the perfect escape.
So, where can you go that offers breathtaking scenery and a world-renowned marathon you can be proud of?
Any one of these phenomenal destinations!
1. The Great Wall Marathon, China
One of the toughest marathon courses in the world is the Great Wall Marathon in China.
Not only do you climb the ancient steps of the historic Wall of China, you’ll race through the nearby villages, catching a glimpse of the local culture.
This 26.2-mile race that sells 2,500 bibs a year will literally make you feel like you are on top of the world.
Unfortunately, with the current political climate in China, you may want to put this race on hold.
There have been reports of Americans getting placed under exit bans, being harassed, and detained without any rights.
2. The Australian Outback Marathon
Taking a trip down under gives you access to one of the most bio-diverse continents on the planet.
In addition to catching a koala in the wild, running the Australian Outback Marathon winds through the soft sands of the Outback and through the authentic bush tracks Australia is known for.
If you don’t have time to train for a marathon before your vacation week arrives, no worries!
You can also choose a half-marathon – either an 11k or 6k. No reason you can’t feel fit and still leave enough energy to hit the streets of Sydney afterward!
3. 4Deserts 250k Sahara Race
Movies depict the Sahara desert as an endless plane of unforgiving sun and sand, where your lips are dry and your skin is scorched.
They aren’t wrong!
Which is why the 4Deserts 250k Sahara Race is considered the most gnarly course you can participate in.
Not to worry, you are allowed to load water on your back to stay hydrated throughout the race, but it will have little bearing on the challenges you’ll face among the shifting sands of Namibia.
This 155.3-mile race takes an average of seven days and is not for the novice nor the faint of heart.
For the elite runner, this is one of the greatest feats you could ever accomplish.
4. Grand Circle Trailfest
If you prefer to stay closer to home, then the Grand Circle Trailfest is your ticket to paradise.
The urge to explore is as ancient as time, but with all the new mandates and restrictions in place over the past year, there’s been an astronomical flux in the number of Americans heading to the great outdoors.
And no other opportunity gives you firsthand access to three of the most beloved national parks – Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and Grand Canyon – like the 44-mile, three-day Grand Circle Trailfest.
Trail running is the perfect blend of endurance and wildlife, which makes this all-encompassing vacation a must for any athlete looking for an exhilarating week away!
If you have your heart set on visiting some other far-off land, chances are there is a race or fitness marathon you can participate in while still getting some much-needed R&R in between events.
There are famous races in Thailand, New York City, and even Mount Kilimanjaro!
Don’t compromise on what you enjoy in a vacation – blend all your favorite things into one amazing adventure you’ll never forget!
(h/t Proud American Traveler)