Yearly, there are over 800(!) marathons that are organized worldwide. Many of them – over 300 of them across 83 countries – belong to to the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), which was founded in 1982.
There are some more “unusual” marathons out there as well. For example, there’s the Midnight Sun Marathon which is held in Tromsø, Norway at seventy 70 degrees north. Now, with GPS, marathon races are held in the Antarctica, at the North Pole, and across desert terrain.
I have a friend who happens to be a successful maritime lawyer. It is a law niche specialty, unless you happen to be merchant mariners, seamen, or dockworkers and are seriously injured on the job. Then a maritime lawyer is very important! Not only will a maritime attorney hold the employer and any other relevant parties accountable for the injuries sustained, but also can help navigate their injured client through the difficult times of recovery while finding a resolution that provides reasonable compensation in both the short-term and long-term. Let me say, a maritime worker is injured in an accident on a ship, tug, barge, oil rig, or suffered another maritime accident they need an advocate on their side who has the experience to represent their rights against the largest of companies. Anyway, my friend who is a very serious marathoner took part in what is known as the Big Five Marathon. Participants travel to five extraordinary locations. The first marathon takes place among South Africa’s safari wildlife, followed by the Great Wall Wall Marathon which takes place on The Great Wall Of China, The Polar Circle Marathon on Greenland’s permanent ice cap at -15 degrees Celsius temperatures, and finally The Great Tibetan Marathon, which takes place in all of its Zen glory at an altitude of 11,000 feet. Those who are still standing finish with the Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon is the only marathon where runners cross over two continents – Europe and Asia – during its course. I should note that my friend did not finish all five.He skipped the Great Tibetan Marathon. Nevertheless, his list of marathons is impressive.
The five most prestigious marathon races take place in Boston, Chicago, New York City, London, and Berlin, and they form the World Marathon Majors series. This series awards $500,000 annually to the top overall male and female runners in the series. Along with these US races, the marathons in Amsterdam, Honolulu, Paris, Rotterdam and Stockholm make up Runner’s World “World’s Top 10 Marathons”. Other notably large marathons are the United States Marine Corps Marathon, Los Angeles, and Rome races.
Traveling to all these different places costs money. Many well known elite runners have sponsors or other means of covering the costs, such as an invitation from the marathon race committee members who offer free transportation and room and board and a “bonus” just to show up and race. For a strong runner, but some one who is not recognized as an “elite,” he/she has to make do raising the needed funds anyway they can. I know one such person who held a fund raiser in her home city which featured a silent auction of gift baskets that she had assembled with donations and gift certificates from local businesses. She also added some personal touches to each gift basket with craft items she had bought on her travels to various marathons around the world. She had a New York City themed gift basket, a London gift basket, and a Berlin gift basket. Her China gift basket was a favorite as was the South Africa safari gift basket. In addition to the special craft items she also added a signed photograph of herself in the particular marathon that related to the gift basket. Her fund raising using gift baskets was successful,. She was able to raise enough money and actually found a sponsor for a the following year’s Great Tibetan Marathon. A clever, dedicated lady to whom we wish the best of luck.