Looking for an escape from the daily drudgery, even if it’s just to another city or a state? We’ve got a unique idea: sign up for one of these marathons across the best scenic paces in India. Whether it’s nature, adventure, or sightseeing that you seek, there’s a race for you.
The only catch: you’ve got to plan this one months in advance and start training to make the most of this offbeat experience.
Tata Mumbai Marathon
One of the most famous marathons for runners worldwide, the first Mumbai marathon was run in 2004, and currently, it is the largest marathon in Asia. It has six different race categories:
1. A full marathon (42.19 km),
2. A half marathon (21.09 km),
3. Dream run (6km),
4. Senior citizens’ run (4.3 km),
5. Champions with disability (2.4 km), and
6. A timed 10K.
The Mumbai Marathon brings the city together either to run, volunteer, or cheer for the participants. The route covers the iconic Queen’s Necklace on Marine Drive and Bandra-Worli Sea Link, among other popular tourist places in India, and attracts many celebrities and Bollywood actors.
When: January 19, 2020
Also read: The beginner's guide to marathon training
The Ladakh marathon is not for the faint-hearted and is touted as one of the highest and toughest marathons in the world. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity for tourists to discover Leh, the historic capital of the union territory and one of the best places to visit in India, and soak in the breathtaking views of the mountains, rivers, and valleys in the region along the 72 kms trail.
Unlike other marathons, you can’t just show up at this one a day prior to the event. Since it’s a high-altitude race, acclimatisation to the thin air is important and hence, it is advised you reach Leh at least a week in advance.
When: September 11-13, 2020
Kaveri Trail Marathon
Calling all nature lovers, for a marathon amidst nature—the Kaveri Trail Marathon at Karnataka’s Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary. The 13-years-old race became so popular with runners that they could not accommodate more.
So instead of a one-day event it became a weekend affair to attracting runners of all cadres, who pant their way along the River Kaveri through vibrant green fields, canals, and waterfalls, listening to the echoes of birds. The categories offered at this trail marathon are full, half, and 10K. The path is short and hence, full marathoners have to take two rounds of the same track to complete the race.
Looking for the best places to visit in India? Don't miss this bird sanctuary.
When: November 21-22, 2020
Satara Hill Half Marathon
A scenic trail running along the hills of the Western Ghats is the setting for the Satara Hill Half Marathon. The event attracts running enthusiasts from all across the country and, as the name suggests, takes place in the historic city of Satara in Maharashtra.
The route designated for the race is not for amateurs and has been described by past entrants as one of the toughest across the country. It has two categories, first, the dhamaal run (3.5km) and the half marathon (21.09km).
When: September 13, 2020
Also read: 5 marathons off the beaten path
Goa River Marathon
Who said Goa is just a party destination of India? Delve deeper and you’ll discover that it's one of the best places to visit in India for many more reasons. The Goa River Marathon, which takes places in Vasco Da Gama, is a great example. The race attracts not just locals and tourists, but also celebrities and seasoned athletes.
Full marathon, half marathon, 10K, and 5K are the four categories available in this race. The full and the half marathon runs along the scenic river Zuari, it’s calming, but at the same time slightly distracting, so make sure you are focused.
Pachmarhi Monsoon Marathon
While you run the Pachmarhi Monsoon Marathon in Madhya Pradesh, be ready to be greeted by lush green pastures, waterfalls, cave temples, the majestic Satpura ranges, and of course, bouts of rain. The event has three categories:
1. 21 km Dhoopharh Hill run
2. 10 km endurance run, and
3. 5 km family run.
When: August 2, 2020