The World’s Most Remote Half Marathons

© Antarctic Ice Marathon

© Antarctic Ice Marathon

Did you know you can run a half marathon in North Korea? Or on the ice of the Antarctic mainland, near the South Pole? Or on some of the most remote islands in the South Pacific?

To me, traveling to far-off places is one of the real prizes of becoming a runner, and following your enthusiasms on adventures around the world.

Our Carissa Liebowitz has captured an amazing list of these places below — expect more in future weekly updates, as we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of the all places you can go.

1) Maraton Rapa Nui • Easter Island, Chile

With only nine flights a week during its high tourist season, this remote island in the middle of the Pacific is a challenge just to get to. The event’s half marathon travels half the length of the 63-square-mile island, a World Heritage Site famed for its 887 statues carved as long ago as 1100 AD.

Early June • Complete race info »

2) Frozen Continent Half Marathon • Union Glacier, Antarctica

Taking place at 80 degrees south, this race runs only a few hundred miles from the South Pole. It costs about $12,500 and you’ll need to block off a week for getting to and from the starting line — but you’ll also earn major bragging rights, as this is the only half marathon that runs within the Antarctic Circle.

Mid November • Complete race info »

3) Genghis Khan Grassland Half Marathon • Xiwuqi, China

“Somewhere obscure and hard to find.” That’s how the Urban Dictionary defines “Outer Mongolia,” and if you make it here you’ll likely agree. It takes a long flight and a two-hour bus ride to get to Xiwuqi, where you’ll run this mostly off-road race through the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. Sign up quickly, as the event’s 1,000 spaces often sell out.

Early July • Complete race info »

4) Everest Half Marathon • Mount Everest, Nepal

It’ll take you well over three weeks of travel and nearly $3,000 to run the highest half marathon in the world, and that’s before you’ve bought a plane ticket. The good news? The race is all downhill, and features some of the most spectacular scenery human eyes can behold.

Early October • Complete race info »

5) Marathon International de Mo’orea • Mo’orea, French Polynesia

For a fighting chance at beating the heat of this 52-square-mile Pacific island near Tahiti, runners start this race at 4:35 AM. To get there, you’ll need to make the (very) long flight to one of Mo’orea’s nearby islands, and then take another flight or ferry here. The race’s marathon course records are 2:20:58 for men and 2:49:12 for women.

Early May • Complete race info »

6) Polar Circle Half Marathon • Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

If running 13.1 miles on gravel and ice is your thing, then this is your race. You’ll need about a week of travel time to get here, run the race and get back home, but stunning views of the Arctic desert in a nearly uninhabited part of Earth make this once-in-a-lifetime journey worth it.

Late October • Complete race info »

7) Seychelles ECO Healing Marathon • Beau Vallon, Seychelles

Located just over 930 miles off the coast of East Africa, the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles archipelago require determination (and plenty of money) to get to. You can fly into Mahé, but there are no direct flights from the U.S. You’ll also need to contact the race director by email, as the race doesn’t offer online registration.

Late February • Complete race info »

8) Pyongyang Half Marathon • Pyongyang, North Korea

Perhaps the unlikeliest place on Earth to run a race, this North Korean event offers a chance not only visit the “hermit kingdom,” but to earn a medal while doing it. You’ll start your journey from Beijing, China, and depart for a 4- or 8-day trip that will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable travel/running experiences you’ll ever have.

April • Complete race info »

9) Australian Outback Half Marathon • Ayers Rock, Australia

Run in the shadow of Australia’s famed, red-domed Ayers Rock, where this race follows a mostly flat loop course and travels over “red earth” for 13.1 miles. Getting here is the real challenge — the nearest large town, Alice Springs, lies some 200 miles away. Expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $1,400 on the race itself, and to have an experience you’ll never forget.

Late October • Complete race info »

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