Running abroad
March 14, 2012 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Runners: What's your favorite race that you've run outside the U.S.?

I've been a runner for several years and I thought that a good next challenge/adventure would be a race in a different country. I'm thinking something like a ten miler or half marathon as I've run marathons before but it's been a while and I worry that it will be more challenging than I'd prefer.

I have family in Buffalo, NY so any races in Toronto or Niagara Falls would be convenient. I'm looking for a place where there will be good race support/culture of running as well as ideal running weather (dry-ish, race time temperature of 45-60 degrees F) but I'm flexible. I'm thinking Canada, central or south America, or Europe but I'm interested to hear what you have to say. A race route that shows off some of the city's beauty would be great as well but I know that routes change.

Also, if you could tell me about the entry process, that would be helpful. I was interested in a race series in South Africa but it was totally booked when I got around to checking it out. I'd be interested in running one of the Rock n'Roll races abroad but I've never run any of them here so I don't know anything about them. Please let me know what you think - thanks!
posted by kat518 to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, this is not out of the country, but you mention Niagara Falls, so... I ran a super fun 5k on Goat Island a few years ago. You loop around the island between American & Horseshoe Falls three times. You run through the mist! Actually, I think it might be called Run In The Mist. Benefits the Boys & Girls Club. I can't find anything online at the moment, but it's in June.

Round the Bays in Auckland, NZ is an 8.4km race happening in 3 days. Right along the water, too. So you have a whole year to plan ahead!
posted by troika at 7:21 AM on March 14, 2012

I'm not a runner, but many of my colleagues are serious runners, and the Mighty Deerstalker in Scotland is a very popular one. It's an off-road run with fancy dress, in the grounds of Traquair House - a former hunting lodge for the Royalty of Scotland. Might not be what you're after, exactly, but just in case it sounds up your street -
posted by sarahdal at 8:10 AM on March 14, 2012

If you're looking for a gentle easing back in to a half or full marathon, I think you can't do better than the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which also includes a half and a 5k. The route always starts downtown, then proceeds along the lakefront and loops back downtown. It's F L A T as a pancake (except for one little overpass "hill"), and as a result lots of people use it as a Boston qualifier since it's possible to get a pretty respectable time. I ran this as my first half, and was impressed with both the race itself and the overall organization. It's a BIG race, and attracts a broad range of runners (from the elite guys who were lapping me by km 8, to casual run-walkers). It happens in October (Oct 14th in 2012) in Toronto, so it can be getting a little on the chilly side, but is usually well within your ideal temp range during that part of the year.

Another Toronto race you might want to try is the Toronto Marathon (similar name, different race). It's in May this year (May 6), so temperature-wise it might be trending towards the warmer end of your range, but it also includes a half and a 5k, and has a VERY forgiving race profile, especially for the half. The thing is essentially a gentle downhill the entire way, and the route goes along Yonge street, through Rosedale (a very pretty neighbourhood), and then through the downtown core. Not as scenic as (parts) of the Waterfront route, but lots of visual interest....I've not done this race before (though I'm doing the half this year), so I don't have any insight on the organization/support, but it's a very popular and long-running (pun intended) race, so I imagine it's run pretty tightly.
Registration info is available on both of the sites I linked. Enjoy!
posted by Dorinda at 8:24 AM on March 14, 2012

posted by caoimhe at 9:08 AM on March 14, 2012

I'm desperate to run the Marathon du Medoc which features 23 wine stops, foie gras, oysters and lord knows what else. Sadly, they don't offer a half and it is likely to be hot.

In terms of serious European races, I'd look at Big 25 (which just added a half-marathon option as well) in scenic and flat Berlin or the Lisbon Half-Marathon. The Berlin race ends in the Olympic Stadium, which is the coolest thing ever.
posted by Lame_username at 11:48 AM on March 14, 2012

OK it's a fair way away from you, but if you are looking to come to the other side of the world you have to do the City2Surf. Biggest timed race in the world. Scenic race, with a great finish at Bondi Beach. 14km is a bit shorter than what you were looking for, but it's a really challenging course with one of the hills called "Heartbreak Hill" for a reason.
posted by trialex at 2:00 PM on March 14, 2012

I've done 10ks but nothing longer, and I think I need some big races to motivate me. I'm favoriting this, and hope others find it and offer more suggestions.

I haven't run it (yet!), but tops on my list is the Angkor Wat half marathon. Flat course through amazing temple complex in Cambodia. Seems to be 1st weekend in December, I hope to do it in 2013.

In the US, I'd love to find a team and do hood to coast, a relay from Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast. I live in Oregon, so I should really be able to do this. But I'm not exactly in shape, and I know people who are either super serious and above my level, or who aren't runners and don't want to take on the stretch goals I'm after....

I grew up in Buffalo (Kenmore) and my parents are still there, so I try to go back every year or two. 5k doesn't really interest me, but Goat Island might make it worthwhile.
posted by comah at 11:34 PM on December 3, 2012

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