Your 60 Favourite Worldwide Races

Big Sur Marathon, California

If there's a better excuse for a holiday – and a better way to see the sights – than a foreign race, we don't know it. We asked you to tell us about your favourite overseas events, and the results are tantalisingly good.

More than 60 races made the grade, based on everything from “the sheer joy of running in a famous city" (Anne McGrane on the magic of the Paris Marathon) to this: “It was 10pm and a new moon was rising. The dune was awe-inspiring, a long ridge of sand stretching off into the distance." (Dave Jelley on the French Trans'Aq).

Outrageously flat courses, Himalayan courses, courses down mineshafts... they're all here. We've divided your reports into three pages:

And there are highlights below. Incidentally, you're not too late to tell us about your own favourite worldwide race, if you've run a few. We'll add them into the article.

 

Rave-Rated Races

Les Fouleés de la Soie, China

The New York City, Comrades, Hamburg, Chicago and Paris marathons won the highest number of votes... but here are the most enthusiastically rated races:

Big Sur Marathon, USA
"Almost unimaginable beauty, following Highway 1 from Big Sur up to Monterey." —Brenda Avery

Apeldoorn Mid-winter Marathon, Netherlands
"I ran this in light snow and -2°C and absolutely loved it. The organisation is fantastic. The race through heath and woodland is magical. Most runners are on a shorter course and when they leave at 25K there is an almost eerie calm and you're on your own in the fairytale woods. You have got to try this. Inspirational. Go for it." —Michael Niven

New York City Marathon, USA
"I can't imagine there being any better. Every thing was fantastic about the event: the atmosphere, landscape, supporters, the weather, to name a few" —Joni

Jungfrau Marathon, Switzerland
"It was SO different, and you really do have to stop and smell the flowers. There are magnificent waterfalls cascading off sheer cliffs, cows grazing in the meadows - complete with cow bells - on either side of you, snow on the mountains, chugging trains going past you all the way up, a good view of the spectacular Eiger when you reach the top and a really quaint railway to take you back down to Interlaken. Inspiring - it doesn't get much better than that." —Gary van Vuuren

Comrades Marathon, South Africa
"Dubbed appropriately by the organisers as "The Ultimate Human Race", Comrades is witness to unparalleled displays of camaraderie and gutsiness by the average runner..." —Paul Whitmill

Les Fouleés de la Soie, China
"It's definitely my ideal foreign race. Opportunities for contact with local people, even more than the impressive visits to scenic, historic and cultural landmarks, are the factors which make this particular trip so exciting for me. I think it is a winning formula." —Stickless

Mèdoc Marathon
"Magical location and route - those chateaux and vineyards are like something out of Hugh Johnson's memoirs! The refreshment stalls en route are legendary - more canapés and oysters and premiers crus than any sensible runner can manage..." —Brenda Avery