Top 10 Marathon and Triathlon Vacations in Asia and the Far East
Asia offers up a real taste of the exotic with events taking in the Great Wall of China, Buddhist monks in India or the scenic shores of Thailand’s islands. There’s a real variety of courses, locations and routes in the triathlons and marathons of this part of the world.
- The Great Wall Marathon, Tianjin Province, China
Get out your running shoes and be prepared to hit the Wall, the Great Wall of China. For one day every year tough, determined marathoners run 5km, 10km, half marathon or full marathon events on the rugged steps of the fortified ramparts. Fortunately the exceptionally beautiful mountain ridges of Tianjin Province will probably keep your attention off your tired legs and help keep you going.
- The Great Tibetan Marathon, Ladakh, India
This marathon becomes even more extreme when you consider the remote location in the Indian Himalaya, the thin air at 11,483 feet above sea level and the steep and rugged inclines. However the physical trials are tempered by the peaceful mountainous region, its snow-capped reaches and exotic Buddhist monks that reside here in monasteries.
- Laguna Phuket Triathlon, Thailand
This is southeast Asia’s leading triathlon competition and one of the most respected triathlon events in all of Asia. A 1.8km swim, 55km bike and 12km run take you around the fine vacation resort.
- Ironman China, Haikou, Hainan, China
Hainan Island is like the Hawaii of China with white sand beaches and lush tropics; the perfect location for a triathlon. This event in April is held the same day as an official Ironman 70.3 race.
- Hong Kong Marathon
This annual February race has a 10km, half and full marathon event and is one of Asia’s most popular courses. The route takes in some of the main sights of Hong Kong starting from Nathan Road and going out to West Kowloon, back across the Western Harbour Crossing and finishes in Victoria Park.
- Siberian Ice Marathon, Omsk, Russia
This unique half-marathon in snow-covered Siberia is a great opportunity to learn about the rich cultural traditions of Siberians as they celebrate a Russian Orthodox Christmas. The race runs through the historical center and embankment of the Irtysh River. Competitors receive a warm cap to wear and you’ll need it – the Siberian winter can reach 39 degrees below zero.
- Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon, Turkey
This is the only marathon where participants run over two continents; Europe and Asia in a single event. The October marathon starts on the Asian side of the city just before the First Bosphorus Bridge. It passes many historic sights including the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia and ends in the Inönü Stadium in the European part of Istanbul.
- Ironman Japan, Goto, Japan
This July event on Fukue Island passes through the flat fields, sea shore, mountains and residential areas of the island. The route is a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run. Fukue is a volcanic island and provides a challenging course, particularly on the bike leg. Similarly the run course is fairly undulating around Mt Oni volcano.
- Mekong River International Multisport Asian Cup, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand
Duathlons, triathlons and biking events make up this annual three day event in March. The swim takes place in the Mekong River.
- Laguna Phuket International Marathon, Thailand
The perfect place to run is a location renowned for its natural beauty so Phuket is ideal. This June event follows the hilly nature of the Phuket landscape passing through the island’s lush vegetation and some of its famous beaches. Thai music bands support the runners with typical Thai sounds along the way.