Scenic route: Top 5 marathons worth travelling for

From stunning natural scenery to beautiful cityscapes, this list of destination runs are the best ways to experience a city.

Great Ocean Road Running Festival
  • Alison Goh
  • August 2019

Conquering a marathon is possibly one of the most feel-good reasons to travel. We speak to running enthusiast Marie Monozca and ask her for tips on the best runs to start training for.

Taroko Gorge Marathon
Taroko Gorge.

1. Taroko Gorge Marathon

Taking place in the Taroko National Park opens in new window in Hualien County about 2.5 hours from Taipei, Monozca highlights this as a must for runners looking for destination races. “As much as I like city marathons, running in rural areas where time stands still has its own appeal. Passing by scenery like valleys, rivers, and waterfalls makes pounding the road less strenuous.”

Great Ocean Road Running Festival
Great Ocean Road Running Festival.

2. Great Ocean Road Running Festival

The two-day Great Ocean Road Running Festival opens in new window in Victoria, Australia offers different runs from a 60- kilometre ultramarathon to a kiddie race. “It’s very different from the usual city marathons. There are no live bands, dancers or spectators lining the streets — just the ocean on the left and the rainforest on the right.”

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon
Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

3. Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon

The humidity in Singapore can be tough on competitors, but the magnificent CBD views make up for it. “Its course runs though Singapore’s iconic landmarks opens in new window, parks and sights,” says Monozca, who considers the city her second home. They also offer a Kids Dash aimed at children below 10.

Angkor Wat International Half Marathon
Angkor Wat International Half Marathon.

4. Angkor Wat International Half Marathon

This half marathon takes place inside the ruins of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap opens in new window, and proceeds go towards victims of landmines, as well as to needy children in the local hospitals. “My friends who have run it describe how mystical the place is when runners gather at the starting line at the crack of dawn. It’s also appealing that the course is flat and the weather on race day (usually the first Sunday of December) is relatively cool.”

Tokyo Marathon
Tokyo Marathon.

5 . Tokyo Marathon

One of the six World Marathon Majors (the others are in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, New York and London), the Tokyo Marathon opens in new window is arguably the hardest to get into since it only accepts 37,000 runners every year, versus New York’s 50,000. And the participants are just as serious about running as they are about their fashion. “I have never seen so many people in costume in a race, from Disney and manga characters to the Statue of Liberty. It seems these runners spend as much time training as they do preparing for their outfits on race day!”