A half marathon is a perfect distance to run: it is long enough to be challenging but not as grueling as a full marathon, so preparation and recovery times are less tasking. There is a growing body of running enthusiasts that are now taking the opportunity to satisfy their passion for running whilst at the same time visiting some of the most desirable locations in the world.
This blog is not so much a bucket list of the most sought-after countries to go and run a half marathon at, but more of a suggestion to highlight some of the greatest courses that you might like to try and conquer. Just grab your running shoes and let your imagination take you.
Polar Night – Tromso
A highly unusual race as it takes place during what is essentially the dead of night; Tromso is situated above the Polar Circle and has become a popular destination for running for one great reason, The Northern Lights. The Northern Lights can be seen in a few countries north of the polar circle, but in this part of Norway they are simply spectacular.
The half-marathon starts in the afternoon, but you may be fooled by this as it will be pitch black. During January, Tromso has nearly twenty-four hours of darkness, hence the name of the race. The whole length of the course is magically lit by flaming torches, and if you are really lucky, you may be able to see the magnificent Aurora Borealis. There is no race in the world quite like Polar Night, and to run in it is an experience of a lifetime.
Half Marathon – Bermuda
If you fancy getting some rays whilst you are competing, our next destination is right up your street. The Bermuda half marathon takes place mostly in the capital Hamilton, and the race is basically an island tour. The quaint pastel colored buildings of Hamilton occasionally provide aqua blue glimpses of the ocean, contrasting with the almost pink, soft sand.
There is actually a full marathon option on Bermuda on the same weekend, the choice is totally up to you. But if you want to take it a little easier, then the half marathon distance is ideal. That way the following day you are fully recovered to enjoy some real R&R time.
Half Marathon – Kilimanjaro
Some of the best distance runners that have ever been have come from Tanzania, and it is your chance to join them in a great race in their homeland. Running the 13.1 miles in the African heat is no easy task but it is made a little easier as the air will be cooler on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Even though you are basically running up a mountain, most of the route is quite flat. You will pass through local farmsteads and weave your way through coffee and banana plantations. The start is at the Moshi stadium, and from there you will start going uphill before returning once again to the stadium.
We return in part two of the best destinations to run half marathons and take to the streets in Israel, see the Great Wall in China and traverse through Champagne country in France. Even more exciting sights and pathways are ahead of us.