Unesco Heritage Sites are those places that are so rich in history that the area around them is the foundation not just for those who live nearby, but for human civilizations globally. From the East Africa Serengeti to the Great Barrier Reef, they span the world from corner to corner. Typically on people’s bucket list, they don’t define a region, but ancient origins from which we all come from.
Awe-spiring in their own right, the combination of having running competitions and seeing amazing sites on foot is what aspires people to push themselves beyond human capabilities. If you are looking to compete in a marathon, why not choose a location that is seeping in historical significance, ogle human origins and give people a perspective that they can’t imagine while turning the pages of a history book. The marathons in the Unesco Heritage Site Runs are amazing feats of challenge encircling spectacular feats of world wonders.
One of the most historically unique towns in the world, the Salzburg Marathon starts at one of the oldest and most fantastic cathedrals globally. Runners make their way through old neighborhoods, along the River Salzburg, and pass through many routes and scenic sights like the impressive palaces located around the city. Home to iconic historical figures like Mozart, it is a flat and fast course that has you making a loop around the city center twice. For running enthusiasts, music composer fans and historical buffs alike, the Salzburg Marathon pulls people internationally to race together.
Considered one of the most challenging marathons that a runner can accomplish, the Great Wall Marathon combines sightseeing one of the most fantastical places on earth, all with the unique perspective of doing it by foot. The route takes runners not just through the breathtaking path of the wall itself; it veers off into historical villages seemingly frozen in time. A festive and casual atmosphere, although competitive, there is a camaraderie that can’t be mistaken. People from all over the globe join to experience a wonder of the world created by human hands over a century ago. Marathon participants get a taste of how exhausted workers were back when the wall was constructed. The marathon is a testament to human determination as is the construction of the Great Wall of China.
Located in Cambodia is the ancient capital city of the Khmer Empire. Established by King Jayavarman VII, in the late twelfth century, the race covers all the spectacular monuments located around the city. Marathoners race around the Jayavarman’s state temple and the Victory Square located to the north. Angkor, literally meaning “Capital City”, has a mix of history with modernization that makes it the perfect tourist’s attraction. The entire city comes alive for the race, making it more of a festival than just a running event. See all the rich and amazing architecture that the city has to offer while pushing yourself beyond physical limits to accomplish something that not just the average athlete can.
One of the most awesome desert runs, marathoners get to see the sites of the ancient city of Petra along with the surrounding Petra Desert all from a runner’s perspective. Located in Jordan, the entire region is seeping with traditional, culture and historical significance for civilization as a whole. A rugged and tough trail race, the route takes runners through mountainous ranges. A stale climate, the heat, and dry conditions are an additional hurdle for many seasoned athletes. A once in a lifetime run, the Petra Desert Marathon pushes runners to the outer limits of their physicality while returning them to their historical roots. Definitely one for your “to-do” list, it is unlike any other run on the marathon circuit.
Quite arguably the most miraculous sites the world has to give, the Great Barrier Reef Marathon offers runners novice and seasoned alike a unique experience unlike any other. Not just a marathon, the weekend is an entire festival event. Voted the “World’s Best Adventure Course” the combination of beach running and trail racing allows runners to get up close to some of the most scenic places on earth. The four-mile beach allows marathoners to get a glimpse of what lies below the surface of the amazing Coral Sea. Following the marathon, there are a ton of other activities to engage in. Come for the challenge and wonderment of the Great Barrier Reef and stay for an amazing challenge and all the fun!
85k, 35k, 15k, 5k and Kids Run!
The 85k Ephesus Ultra Trail passes through the 8,500-year-old city of Ephesus which today also is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Ephesus you can also visit one of the 7 wonders of the world, the Temple of Artemis which includes 3 ancient sites; the Virgin Mary House; Church of Saint John, and Şirince village.
Start and finish of the Ephesus Ultra Trail run is placed in Şirince Village, close to Ephesus ancient city. Şirince is a picture-perfect village of red-roofed stone houses surrounded by cobble stoned streets. The pittoresque village of Şirince is known throughout Turkey for its olive oil, fruit wines and atmospheric boutique hotels.
When you've had your fill of ancient ruins head over to Pamucak Beach, between Selçuk and Kuşadası, which is a top place to relax and catch some sun. Do as the locals and bring a picnic to enjoy while you hopefully wil get lucky enough to do some spotting of the flamingos who usually stay by the nearby estuary during early spring.