Here’s something a little different – not quite as extreme as ultra-marathons, but very definitely their own brand of adventure stamped all over them…
The Adventure Marathon idea was born in 1998 in Copenhagen, Denmark when Director of Albatros Travel, Mr. Søren Rasmussen got the idea of organising a marathon on The Great Wall of China. The following year 300 runners participated in the first Great Wall Marathon ever and it was clear that a new “niche” was started. More adventurous marathons followed, some more successful than others and today 4 marathons are a permanent part of the family, they are:
- The Great Wall Marathon on the Great Wall in China,
- The Big Five Marathon on the savannah in South Africa,
- The Great Tibetan Marathon in the mountains of Tibet,
- and The Polar Circle Marathon on the ice sheet of Greenland.
The Petra Marathon is the newest venue for this innovative company. It will be run this weekend, 26th September. As you can imagine, registration for this marathon is definitely closed… however, if you’re really keen you can register for the 2010 Petra Marathon which will be run on 17th September next year.
This is the first time ever that the Petra Marathon has been run, and what a setting.
Petra, an ancient city carved in the sandstone mountains, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was elected as one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of the World’ in 2007. Runners can look forward to astonishing sights and a challenging course through a unique landscape.
The lowest point of the race will be about 875 m and the highest elevation is just under 1,450 m.
The Petra Marathon will be swiftly followed by the Polar Circle Marathon which is on October 24th, 2009.
This marathon is a tough, unique race in truly magnificent scenery. Greenland’s endless ice and snow make up the backdrop of this unusual race, in which runners pass glacier tongues, moraine landscapes and soundless, arctic desert.
Most of the course is run on gravel road and smaller paths between moraine hills – except for the part that takes place on the 3 km thick Greenlandic ice cap.
October weather in Greenland is normally beautiful and not too cold. Sunshine is the order of the day, though the occasional light snowfall may occur. Expect temperatures of around -5º C / 25º F.
It looks as though you can still register for this marathon, but I’d advise you to be quick as I am sure time will be running out. Please follow this Polar Marathon link.
The next Great Wall Marathon will be run on 15th may, 2010.
The 5,164 steps of the Great Wall will put your physique to the test, and the breathtaking surroundings of Tianjin Province will compete with your tired
muscles for attention. The Great Wall Marathon® is the ideal way to combine an unusual running event with exploring one of the world’s most astonishing sights.
June 5th, 2010 is the day for the Big Five Marathon in South Africa.
Runners from all over the world will meet in one of the most spectacular “Big Five” game reserves in Africa. In these magnificent surroundings, one can combine exciting game drives with a challenging marathon route going right through the habitat of the most famous African game: Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard. No fences, no rivers, nothing at all separates the runners from the African wildlife.
And if you’re an ardent football fan you could always try taking a match while you’re out there… the FIFA World Cup starts on 11th June.
And finally, since it’s already happened, we will end with the Great Tibetan Marathon (AlbatrosAfrica) on the Tibetan plateau in Northern India, otherwise known as Little Tibet.
The Great Tibetan Marathon is nothing like traditional marathon courses on even roads in well-known surroundings. The mountainous terrain, in which the marathon takes place, naturally makes the tracks rugged, the 3,500 m altitude makes the air deficient in oxygen and the views are absolutely spectacular. there is no need to emphasize how tough a race this is. So tough actually, that it was voted Toughest Marathon on the Most Extreme Marathons-list by Forbes Magazine.
And also very different… this is a very spiritual marathon. The start is blown on long Buddhist horns, instead of the traditional shot by a starting pistol, and all runners are blessed by Buddhist monks, who also serve as helpers along the way.
The Great Tibetan Marathon 2009 happened on 18 July 2009. The marathon winners were Indian Stanzin Otsal (3:24:59) and South African Leanne Juul (3:58:08). 74 runners from all over the world finished the three distances: marathon, half marathon and 10 km.