13 of the World’s Strangest Marathons

13 of the World’s Strangest Marathons

Strangest Marathons

Want to now the which are the world’s strangest marathons? Keep reading!

Running a marathon is challenging enough without adding in thousands of steps, wild animals, and slippery ice sheets in extreme temperatures. And yet, determined runners partake each year in such unusual distance races that take endurance running to the next level.

From underwater and safari marathons, racing through the busy Las Vegas Strip, and climbing the Great Wall of China to running in the North and South Pole’s hostile environment, we bring you some of the strangest marathons on the planet.

1. Burro Days Marathon

The Burro Days Marathon in Fairplay, Colorado, is a 29-mile or 15-mile off-road race to the top of Mosquito Pass and back. What makes it strange is the fact that runners have to race alongside, or rather drag, a burro (Spanish for “donkey”).

And as if that wasn’t arduous enough, the burro has to carry a pack saddle with 33 pounds of mining gear through thorny bushes and the rocky Mosquito Pass. That’s a shout-out to the burro’s role in the old mining days during the Colorado Gold Rush.

Not being able to control the pace is what makes it fun, even though you need hours to reach the finish line.

2. Man Versus Horse Marathon

Man Versus Horse Marathon

The Man Versus Horse Marathon in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, is exactly what the name suggests — men (and women) pitting against horses to try and outrun them.

Runners compete against horseback riders over a 22-mile course that stretches through vast green pastures, uneven forest paths, and ankle-deep streams.

Now, it may seem impossible for humans to outrun their four-legged opponents, but two runners have claimed victory since the marathon’s inception in 1980 – once in 2004 and another time in 2007. When the weather is too hot, you have a chance to snatch the cash prize.

3. Le Marathon du Médoc

 Le Marathon du Médoc

This is the world’s longest and booziest marathon, held in France’s Médoc region. It includes running through more than 30 vineyards, including the legendary Château Lafite Rothschild, where participants have to drink wine and sample local food specialties.

There are 23 wine tastings on the route, with oysters, cheese, steak, foie gras, fruit, biscuits, waffles, ice cream, and so much more to try — and you can’t skip any of the stops.

The medical support is fantastic, so there’s one less thing to worry about! The time limit is six hours and 30 minutes, which isn’t enough for most contestants indulging in all the local delights.

Thanks to a different annual theme that requires runners to pick a creative outfit, and multiple orchestras throughout the vineyards, this event is quite like a party.

4. Safaricom Marathon

Safaricom Marathon

Absolutely one of greatest world’s strangest marathons is the Safaricom Marathon.

The Safaricom Marathon gives a new meaning to a wild running experience. Held annually at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, it’s a fundraising event for wildlife conservation efforts and community development projects.

What makes it strange (and potentially dangerous) is that it’s an endurance race through an open game reserve! It’s home to antelopes, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, elephants, cape buffalos, and predators like lions, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs, and hyenas.

Potential run-ins with the African wildlife, along with the harsh climate and challenging terrain, put even the most seasoned runners to the test.

Luckily, armed Kenya Wildlife Service guards patrol the course at all times to ensure the runners’ safety, together with a spotter plane and two helicopters that warn of any potential threats nearby.

5. Loch Ness Marathon

This race offers an opportunity to run along the famous loch’s shores in Scotland, with inflatable Nessie waiting for runners at the finish line in Inverness.

There’s nothing unusual about it, but did you know that it held a long-distance underwater marathon in 2003?

Famous marathoner Lloyd Scott completed the first-ever 26.2-mile underwater challenge to raise money for charity. He wore an antique deep-sea diving suit of 120 pounds, and it took him 12 days to emerge from the murky depths of Loch Ness.

6. Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon

This event is exactly what you might expect from Sin City. Taking place on Las Vegas Boulevard at sunset, it includes racing through the busy streets filled with Elvis impersonators, thousands of people cheering on, and over 20 bands creating a party-like atmosphere.

There’s even a run-thru wedding chapel for couples who want to tie the knot or renew their vows during the run.

Until recently, this was a 26.2-mile run, but Competitor Group, Inc. cut it in half due to poor feedback from previous contestants.

7. Albatross Polar Circle Marathon

Albatross Polar Circle Marathon

This strange event near the Polar Circle in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, is far from your regular long-distance race.

It offers breathtaking polar sceneries and potential run-ins with reindeer, musk oxen, and arctic foxes. However, it requires participants to run past towering glacier tongues and across moraine landscapes through the arctic tundra.

Its main part includes a snow-covered gravel road, but a portion goes over an ice sheet. The steep route is marked to prevent potential falls, but the harsh climate can lead to frostbite.

With temperatures hovering around 5 °F and 14 °F in October, when the race takes place, and slippery ice sheets that pose the danger of falling into a crevasse, this can be quite a dangerous run.

8. Walt Disney World Marathon

Walt Disney World Marathon

Surely one of the world’s strangest marathons.

This event is a brilliant choice for all Disney enthusiasts. Taking place in Orlando, Florida, it features an entire weekend of races, including 5K, 10K, half, and full marathons. Participants can opt for a multi-race challenge to try and win all the prizes.

What makes this event weird is racing through the iconic theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort, including Hollywood Studios, the Magic Kingdom Park, the Animal Kingdom, and Epcot.

Everywhere you look, there are life-size Disney characters — throughout the entire course. While they make for a fun and exciting experience, they can be quite distracting as well especially since you can’t stop for a ride.

9. Star Wars Marathon

Star Wars Marathon

The Force is strong with this one. It’s held at Orlando’s Disney World as well, and features exciting weekend-long races.

Participants have an opportunity to don their favorite Star Wars costume and showcase their allegiance to the light or dark side. They can join the Star Wars Rebel Challenge to run both a 10K and a half marathon while people dressed as the famous characters from the popular franchise cheer them on.

10. The Barkley Marathons

The Barkley Marathons

This is one of the weirdest ultra-distance trail races ever. Limited to only 40 runners, it features a 100-mile trail in Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee.

It includes a 20-mile unmarked loop without any aid stations and a portion where the vertical climb is so steep that it makes this race one of the most challenging out there.

Only 15 people have finished it since 1986, as the 60-hour time limit doesn’t seem to be enough for most runners to do all the loops.

Another strange thing about it is the application process. It’s a closely-guarded secret, so applicants must figure out when they can enter the competition and what requirements they need to meet. One of them includes writing a “Why I Should Be Allowed to Run in the Barkley” essay.

11. North Pole Marathon

North Pole Marathon

North Pole Marathon

This is truly one of the world’s strangest marathons.

Not for the faint of heart, this race at the top of the world isn’t run on land but, rather, on frozen water.

It’s a full-distance race with ten circular loops on Arctic ice floes, where participants need to run in below-freezing temperatures (around -22 °F) and may encounter an occasional polar bear.

The entry fee is a whopping €16,900 (over $19,300) or €15,900 (over $18,200) for paying in full upon registration. However, the hefty price tag includes return flights from Svalbard, Norway, to the North Pole camp, accommodation, helicopter flights, and many other services for an unforgettable experience.

12. Great Wall Marathon

Great Wall Marathon

If you’ve ever visited the Great Wall of China, you must know how its ups, downs, twists, and turns are challenging. Can you imagine how daunting this world wonder can be when trying to conquer it in a full-distance race?

This 10-hour, heart-pumping event starts and ends at Yin and Yang Square in the old Huangyanguan fortress in Tianjin. It includes 5,164 steps and various ascents and descents, some of which are so steep that they require climbing on all fours.

13. The Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon

The Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon

Not to be confused with Norway’s Midnight Sun Marathon (which is just as thrilling), the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon takes place in Anchorage, Alaska.

Like its Norwegian counterpart, it starts in the evening, finishes at midnight, and offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the Midnight Sun, thanks to the summer solstice that brings an entire day of sunlight.


If you’re an avid runner who likes a challenge, running any of these strange marathons may be an ideal way to test your body and mind’s limits. Even if you don’t finish it, you’ll be glad that you tried and enriched your life with a memorable experience. Just be sure to get high-quality running shoes with proper cushioning and support to protect your feet.

Read more one ladywithsneakers.com

10 Hardest Marathons in the World

10 Hardest Marathons in the World If you are wondering which are the hardest marathons in the world to run, keep reading! Being able to successfully run a marathon takes a lot of skill and effort. A regular human being shouldn’t be able to run around 42 kilometers at...

10 Marathons to Run in Europe in 2022

10 Marathons to Run in Europe in 2022 Here, at Lady With Sneakers, we will explore the top 10 marathons to run in Europe in 2022 Running a marathon in 2022 is one of the best ways to temporarily get your mind off everything that had been going on in the previous two...

Most Common First Marathon Training Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Most Common First Marathon Training Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Want to know how to avoid your first marathon training mistakes? Read on ! There’s nothing more exciting and adventurous than running your first marathon. After months and months spent on marathon...

10 Suggestions on What to Eat Before Half Marathon

Introduction Nutrition and proper diet are some of the most important factors that influence how successful your half marathon will be. Good and healthy food choices will prepare your body for race day in the best possible way, so make sure to pay attention to your...

TOP Amazing Health Benefits Of Running And Jogging

TOP Amazing Health Benefits Of Running And Jogging Benefits of Running are Countless Running is one of the most accessible physical activities. Running and jogging mean Minimum of equipment and maximum of possibilities. You can run near your home in the park, at the...