Run With A View: The 30 Most Beautiful Marathons in the World

Anyone who has run a marathon knows how endless the miles can feel. Running in an area with uninspiring views, or repeating the same loop can add to the feeling of the 26.2 miles being especially torturous. How do we avoid such a fate? Consider running the most beautiful marathons in the world.

Running in a beautiful place filled with incredible sights helps reduce the feeling that the miles are dragging on and on. Whether that be a lush green landscape or scenic views of the coast – we set out to find the best marathons in the world with the very best views across every stretch of the globe.

The Most Beautiful Marathons in the World

Running is one of the best ways to explore the world. Whether it’s an exotic destinations along sandy coastlines, or a unique bustling metropolis – we’ve scoured our calendars to find you a marathon, half marathon, or just a running vacation

Whatever your preference is, our list of the most beautiful marathons in the world has got you covered!

Most beautiful marathons in the world in Columbia Gorge Marathon in Oregon.

Columbia Gorge Marathon- Oregon, USA

Crisp autumn weather, incredible fall foliage, and impressive views of Oregon’s expansive Columbia River Gorge – this race has it all! The steep uphills for the first half of the race are challenging, but you’ll be so distracted by the impressive scenery that you’ll almost forget about them.

October 22nd, 2023 | Register

Halong Bay Heritage Marathon – Halong Bay, Vietnam

If visiting Halong Bay isn’t on your bucket list yet, it should be. Its emerald waters with towering limestones and floating fishing villages will captivate your attention and leave you in awe during your 26.2 miles here. 

November 19th, 2023 | Register

Queenstown Marathon in New Zealand scenic view of the coastal cityscape.

Queenstown Marathon – Queenstown, New Zealand

This race’s slogan is “Flat out beautiful,” and it’s easy to see why. This marathon’s course passes the region’s most stunning mountains and lakes, all on mainly flat roads and hard-packed trails.

November 18th, 2023 | Register

Catalina Island Marathon – California, USA

The oldest trail marathon in the US, the Catalina Island Marathon is a fan-favorite for its gorgeous peaks, rewarding rolling hills, and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Keep your eyes peeled and you might even stumble upon an American bison during this race!

March 9th, 2024 | Register

The architecture of Rome for Run the Rome Marathon in Rome, Italy one of the most beautiful marathons in the world.

Run Rome the Marathon – Rome, Italy

Packed with history, Run Rome the Marathon isn’t your typical city marathon. This race provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with its start and finish near the Colosseum! While the segments of cobblestone might make you limp afterward, the feeling of conquering Rome will surely triumph over the pain! 

March 17th, 2024 | Register

Schneider Electric Paris Marathon – Paris, France

Attracting 50,000 runners each year, the Paris Marathon is a lively running event. This race provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower amongst a sea of runners. There’s no better way to explore one of the world’s most fabled cities! Baguettes not included on race day.

April 7th, 2024 | Register

Greater St. Louis Marathon – Missouri, USA

A race known to exceed expectations, the Greater St. Louis Marathon takes runners along the river, through the city’s most beautiful parks and historic districts, and to the finish line near the Gateway Arch. This urban race is a relaxed marathon that’s perfect for beginners and seasoned marathoners alike. 

April 27th, 2024 | Register

The Big Sur International Marathon in California is one of the most beautiful marathons in the world.

Big Sur International Marathon- California, USA

No list of the most beautiful marathons in the world is complete without mentioning the Big Sur Marathon. This coastal course’s marathon route offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean are truly breathtaking. But be warned, the long hills might take your breath away too. 

April 28th, 2024 | Register

Vancouver Marathon – British Columbia, Canada

Canada is full of natural beauty and awe-inspiring landscapes, so for a marathon to be named “Canada’s most scenic race,” it’s gotta be pretty special. The Vancouver Marathon has rightfully earned this title with its lovely course through the city’s prettiest neighborhoods and parks and along the world’s largest uninterrupted waterfront path- the Seawall.

May 5th, 2024 | Register 

Coastline of Orange County, home of the OC Marathon.

OC Marathon – California, USA

Starting a race with cliffside views of the Pacific Ocean is enough to give just about anyone an extra boost of motivation. At the OC Marathon, the beauty doesn’t stop there. The rest of this downhill course is equally as stunning, and you’ll tour some of the OC’s most beautiful coastal neighborhoods.

May 5th, 2024 | Register

Avenue of the Giants Marathon – California, USA

There’s nothing more humbling than running amongst towering redwoods in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Not only are these impressive trees a captivating sight, but they also help cool down the area, which makes for the perfect running conditions.

May 5th, 2024 | Register

Pittsburgh Marathon – Pennsylvania, USA

Perhaps an unexpected race to see on this list, this urban marathon is actually packed with amazing sights. You’ll run along the city’s three rivers, over some beautiful bridges, pass several major stadiums, and through the most charming neighborhoods- all while locals cheer you on with unmatched enthusiasm. 

May 5th, 2024 | Register

Landscape of the Ogden Marathon in Ogden, Utah.

Ogden Marathon – Utah, USA

If you’re a fan of gentle downhills, you’ll love the Ogden Marathon. This race is the ultimate scenic run as the Ogden Valley area has an abundance of lakes, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and rock formations to enjoy each step of the way. 

May 18th, 2024 | Register

Great Ocean Road Marathon – Victoria, Australia

Much like the Big Sur Marathon, the Great Ocean Road Marathon is also known for its coastlines and hills. An added bonus is that you might be able to spot koalas along this course’s winding road. If you can’t get enough of the views, you can sign up for the ultra marathon for some extra miles here. 

May 19th, 2024 | Register

Related: The Best Ultramarathons of 2024

Bayshore Marathon – Michigan, USA

As a Michigan native, I can assure you that Traverse City is one of the most beautiful places to run a marathon. Running along the Grand Traverse Bay for almost the entire race, the cool breeze, flat roads, and waterfront vistas are sure to keep you enamored by this marathon. 

May 25th, 2024 | Register

Coeur d’Alene Marathon – Idaho, USA

Another small-town race along a lake, the Coeur d’Alene Marathon is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful marathons in the world. Along with the lakefront views, you’ll also love checking out all the dream houses and gorgeous parks in the area.  

May 26th, 2024 | Register

Steamboat Marathon landscape in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Steamboat Marathon – Colorado, USA

This peaceful course takes runners along the gushing Elk River and through pastures full of mooing cows. With views of the Rocky Mountains everywhere you look, the scenery will help distract you from some of the rolling hills throughout the race.

June 2nd, 2024 | Register

Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon – Washington, USA

This beautiful downhill marathon features one of the fastest marathons in the US. With a low starting elevation and steady downhill grade, the chances of getting a PR at this race are high! The expansive mountains and flowing waterfalls along the way make this fast course even more inspiring. This is also one of the world’s fastest marathons.

June 9th, 2024 | Register  

The Big Five Marathon- Entabeni, South Africa

Few races give runners the chance to run in nature amongst wildlife, but the Big Five Marathon is an exception. Taking place in the South African savanna of Entabeni, this course is equally as beautiful as it is challenging. That being said, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is worth it for the chance to see elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, lions, and leopards up close.  

June 15th, 2024 | Register

The Northern Lights seen from the Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromso, Norway.

Midnight Sun Marathon- Tromsø, Norway

This race makes it onto just about every list of the most beautiful marathons in the world, and we can see why. The Midnight Sun Marathon is more than just a scenic tour of Norway’s Arctic landscapes; it’s truly a transformative experience.

June 22nd, 2024 | Register

Grandma’s Marathon- Minnesota, USA

Almost no race is mentioned as much as Grandma’s Marathon when it comes to beauty. Taking place along the stunning shoreline of Lake Superior, the surreal views and electric atmosphere make this a bucket list race for many runners. 

June 22nd, 2024 | Register

Missoula Marathon – Montana, USA

The Missoula Marathon provides unmatched views of open fields, peaceful rivers, and epic mountains from start to finish. With a course that’s almost entirely downhill, this beloved race is one of the most recommended scenic marathons.

June 30th, 2024 | Register

Mad Marathon – Vermont, USA

Run along rolling farmland, on dirt roads, and through quaint villages during Vermont’s Mad Marathon. The Green Mountains serve as the perfect backdrop for this stunning small-town race. 

July 7th, 2024 | Register

Khmer Empire Marathon – Siem Reap, Cambodia

Unlike any other race on our list, the Khmer Empire Marathon takes runners through the sacred Angkor Wat temple complex. Take in the area’s untouched beauty, marvel at the ancient ruins, and bask in this race’s magical atmosphere.

August 4th, 2024 | Register

The coastline of the Dingle region of Ireland, home to the Dingle Marathon one of the most beautiful marathons in the world.

Dingle Marathon – Dingle, Ireland

Claiming the title of “Ireland’s most scenic marathon,” the Dingle Marathon is a picturesque journey along the region’s rugged coastline. With sea waves crashing along the rocky shore and lush green fields spanning as far as the eye can see, you’ll fully experience Ireland’s mysterious, dreamy landscapes during this course. Interested in more Ireland running? Consider the Hidden Northwest.

September 7th, 2024 | Register

Jungfrau Marathon – Interlaken, Switzerland

Not for the faint of heart, the Jungfrau Marathon is a challenging test of endurance set in one of Switzerland’s most iconic mountain ranges. This mesmerizing adventure through pastures and mountain villages makes the demanding uphill climbs that much more rewarding. An awe inspiring Europe marathon.

September 7th, 2024 | Register

Marathon du Medoc – Médoc, France

A 26.2 mile run with 23 wine tasting stops, 50 orchestras, oyster tasting, and steak. The race starts and finishes through the center of Pauillac and runs through 59 vineyards, village roads, and chateau courtyards. Participants are expected to wear “fancy” attire and indulge in the local food and wine delicacies.

September 7th, 2024

Patagonian International Marathon – Patagonia, Chile

Another marathon that’s tough but worth it, this race takes place in the incredible Torres del Paine National Park. The perfect race for adventurous runners, the Patagonian International Marathon will allow you to experience this region’s majestic mountains in an unforgettable way. 

Not ready for the marathon? Consider Rogue Expedition’s five-star running trip in Patagonia.

September 7th, 2024 | Register

St. George Marathon – Utah, USA

Watch the sunrise as you start your 26.2 miles through one of the Southwest’s most beautiful towns. The panorama views of vast mountains, tranquil desert, and towering sandstone cliffs during this marathon are worth making a trip to see.

October 5th, 2024 | Register

Wineglass Marathon – New York, USA

Experience the peak of New York’s fall foliage and run a marathon at the same time. If you’re not too busy gawking at the beautiful autumn colors, you might be able to PR on this very fast course! 

October 6th, 2024 | Register

The World Marathon Majors

It’s impossible to avoid the elephant in the room – The World Marathon Majors: the New York City Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, Berlin Marathon, London Marathon, Tokyo Marathon and Boston Marathon.

The World Marathon Majors are in a category of their own. Because of the support they receive from national promotion and financial support, they’re some of the biggest and most well-produced marathons in the world. Because of that, they attract runners from around the world – the former World Record marathon time was held by Eliud Kipchoge on the Berlin Marathon course set in Germany, which was dethroned in this year’s Chicago Marathon.

While all of these marathons are seriously game-changing, we wouldn’t categorize them as particularly “beautiful.”

SuperHalfs

If you’re interested in international running but not quite ready for the marathon, you might like the SuperHalf race series – a network of 6 European half marathons for recreational runners.

Honorable Mentions

  • The Great Wall Marathon. A marathon along the steps of the Great Wall of China. A race that’s truly one-of-a-kind. The race only hosts 2,500 runners and makes a great bucket list race for it’s experience.
  • Loch Ness Marathon. The famous home to the Loch Ness Monster and a swampy, surreal marshland marathon.
  • Australian Outback Marathon. An absolutely other-worldly run through the Australian bush. It’s reminiscent of marathons in the Southeast United States like the Sedona Half Marathon.

Marathon Training Plans

We hope that our list of the most beautiful marathons in the world has inspired you to sign up for an unforgettable race.

Take the next step by using our comprehensive training plans to prepare for your race. Check them out here:

10-Week Half Marathon to Marathon Training Plan

12-Week Marathon Training Plan for Experienced Runners

18-Week Marathon Training Plan for First-Timers

20-Week Marathon Training Plan for ‘Comeback’ Runners

Or, use a training app like Runna using code HALFMARATHON get two weeks free.

Not Ready For The Most Beautiful Marathons in the World?

Consider the most beautiful half marathons in the United States. Or, a running vacation for all levels of experience through jaw-dropping landscapes in Croatia, Ireland, Patagonia and Morocco.

Everything featured on Half Marathon Guide is independently selected and curated. We may receive a small commission on purchases made from some of our links.

3 comments… add one
  • Michael Tischler November 19, 2023, 11:34 pm

    I would have put Whiskey Row Prescott AZ and Monument Valley Veterans Marathon Monument Valley AZ on this list as well.

  • David Callison October 19, 2023, 8:30 am

    Check out Escalante Canyon marathon in Escalante Utah. It’s incredibly beautiful but very difficult.

  • Rina subnedih October 19, 2023, 6:20 am

    Wonderfull view..

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