You probably have never heard of the Ras al Khaimah aka RAK Half Marathon. Which is a shame, because the RAK Half Marathon is one of the fastest Half Marathons in the world. It currently (2019) is the course of the European Record, set by Swiss runner Julien Wanders in February 2019..
The RAK Half Marathon is very fast and flat, but unfortunately also a bit boring, because it is located in a quite remote area. But you will definitely not miss your friends and family on the sidelines, and the weather will also very like be fantastic. One more cool thing: the official RAK Half Marathon race pictures are free for everyone afterwards.
Frankfurt Marathon is the oldest road Marathon in Germany and always takes place at the end of Oktober. (This is actually very nice as it is generally the Sunday when Germany changes from summer to winter time and you get one hour of extra sleep.)
Besides the Marathon the race also offers a relay marathon which is realy popular as well.
Munich Marathon will always be a special Marathon for me. I ran my first 10k race, my first Half Marathon and my first Marathon there. This year I spontaneously decided to run Marathon no 11 of my 12 Marathon fundraising project there, as a lot of my friends were running as well and the weather looked really nice. And I did not regret it at all.
Travel and Accessibility
Munich is one of Germany’s largest cities and very well connected by plane, train and bus. The public transport system is also great. The start line of the Marathon and the 10k race as well as the finish line are located in the famous Olympia Park, wich has it’s own underground station. The start of the Half Marathon is located half way on the other side of the city, but also accessible via an underground station.
Munich Marathon Expo
The Munich Marathon Expo is located in the famous Olympia Hall, with lots of traders exhibiting. One big advantage of this Marathon is that you can register at the expo nearly up to the very last minute for all races, even in the morning of the race. Which is what my friend Susanne and I did, as we decided a few days before to run the Marathon. (without really training for it)
The start line of the Munich Marathon is in between the Olypmia Stadium and the Olympia Hall. As this area is generally an area used for various events, you will find good infrastructure there. you can use the regular toilets of the stadium, and the bagdrop is located under the stadium stands. There are also a lot food stalls if you want to purchase food and drinks. And if your friends and family need a break from all that cheering action they can even go zip lining over the Olympia Stadium. Cool, right?
Munich Marathon Course
The Munich Marathon Course first heads East towards the famous Leopoldstraße. After that is takes a loop in the English Garden. This can be very nice if you like running in parks, but sometimes also a bit boring. After that the course heads further East where also the delayed start of the Half Marathon is located. The second half then first passes through the Eastern parts of Munich before heading right through the city center and the famous Marienplatz. It then takes a few loops around the Museums area and Königsplatz, before heading back to the Olympia Stadium. (Attention: the part around Königsplatz will be run in the beginning of the race starting in 2019) The final stretches of the Munich Marathon are the best: one final victory loop around the Olympia Stadium, with your friends and family watching you from the best seats!
The center area of the Olympia Stadium is also the finish line area. You will get your medal, a space blanket, water, sportsdrinks, food and of course some alcohol free wheat beer. You can can sit on the lawn or on some sunchairs and recover while enjoying the atmosphere.
Unfortunately you will have to leave the stadium in the end, which means you will have to walk up the stairs to the exit. Not fun at all. For some, this will be an even harder challenge than the Marathon.
After that you will then collect your drop-bag where you left it. Or in case you ran the Half Marathon your bag was transported to the stadium where you pick it up from the DHL vans.
A big bonus of the finish line location is also the Olympic Swimming pool. You can buy a normal ticket and use the showers there for just around 5€.
When you run the full Munich Marathon you will already see a lot of famous sights. But here are my top picks:
City center: visit the famous Frauenkirche, the City Hall at Marienplatz and the Residenz.
Beergardens: The most famous ones are the Chinese Tower Beergarden and Seehaus Beergarden in the English Garden Park.
Museums: Pinakothek der Moderne, Lenbachhaus and the Deutsches Museum are my favorites.
Something you don’t see during the Marathon: Castle Nymphenburg in the West
And if you want to travel a bit: Don’t miss out on Neuschwanstein Castle (but there is also a Marathon there in case you want to run one in July)
Iceland has always been on my travel bucket list. When I heard there was a Marathon in Reykjavik happening in August, I absolutely had to go for my 12 Marathons in 12 months charity project. And I have to say that Reykjavik Marathon did not disappoint. The people were incredibly friendly, the scenery was fantastic and it was organized perfectly. There is not only the Reykjavik Marathon, but also a Half Marathon, a 10km and several fun runs. So even if you are not into running the full 42.2 km distance, it is a good reason to travel to Iceland. And the best thing: later that day the famous Cultural Night is happening, with concerts and art installations taking place all over town, finishing with giant fireworks.