Each year you probably run countless marathons in and around your hometown, but the truth of the matter is that there is a world of great marathons and running excursions - literally! These runs "abroad," can generate money for charity, boost the hosting city's economy, or maybe an excuse for you to get away for a little while. Whatever the reason, spending time outside of your element can be a refreshing change of pace.
The beauty of running abroad is that you can find marathons, small or large, just about anywhere. So, if you are looking to keep the travelling light, perhaps a quick excursion within 500 miles of your place of residence, then you should have no problem finding a race. For example, the well-known and highly reputable Paris marathon takes place every year in April, drawing in thousands of outsiders from near and far.
Of course, if you are looking to feed your need to get away, then there are plenty of marathons across the "pond". The Virginia Beach Running Festival, for instance, hosts the Rock ‘n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon every year, attracting thousands of participants who not only are eager to put some miles under their feet, but also experience a classic American festivity. If you travel a little further north, then there is the New York marathon and the ever-popular Boston marathon, both of which are great races to put under your belt.
Before you hop on the next outbound flight though, be sure to do your research. While there are thousands of marathons in countries across the globe, each race presents its own set of obstacles and challenges. If you were to run the San Francisco marathon for example, then the vast array of rolling hills winding throughout the city maybe a little more demanding than what you trained for. In other races there may be varying altitudes; at one point you may be a hundred feet below sea level, and then the next you might be a thousand feet above it.
As with any race, you should be planning and training for that specific event long before it takes place. As mentioned above, each race will present its own set of terrain, and therefore, its own set of challenges. Map the route and take note of any inclines, declines, or long stretches of barren terrain. Perhaps there is a route in your hometown that can offer similarities. Remember that a marathon is usually 42 km, so you need to be prepared to run that, regardless of the terrain.
Another key factor to keep in mind is the weather; more specifically, climate. If your current residence is in Norway, then you may not be used to the arid, dry environment presented by the Egyptian marathon. Or, for an Egyptian native, a marathon in Seattle (USA) may be a bit wetter than you expected since it gets rain regularly. The key point to take away here is to know what you are getting into before you get into it.
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