5 Adventure Trail Marathons and Long Distance Races for 2016

2016 is disappearing fast but there’s still time to set yourself a challenge! You might be contemplating one of the big name running events, but don’t forget there are thousands of lesser known events out there that take in some truly extraordinary parts of the world.

Here we’ve found five races happening across the globe that you may not have heard about. Each one is a challenging trail race and each is very different, so there’s something to float every runner’s boat…

1. Transylvanian Bear Race

Marathon and Ultra, Romania, June

Romania is a bit overlooked as far as European travel goes and this race will show you some of the most unspoiled bits of it on its very varied course. The race finishes in the birthplace of Vlad Dracul himself after weaving through some impeccable Romanian countryside. We like this one particularly because this warning actually appears on the website: “WARNING: the difficulty of these routes should not be underestimated. Nor should the vibrancy of the local wildlife, which includes wolves and bears.”

So, for a challenging run AND a challenging wrestle, head to Transylvania.

Website: transylvanianbearrace.com

2. Running The Rift Marathon

Marathon, Half Marathon & 10k, Uganda, November

We don’t partner with any old marathon so of course this one was going to be in the list! The 2016 race is the first Running the Rift Marathon so joining this should be a pretty special (and possibly emotional – for all the right reasons) experience. You’ll run through the Great Rift Valley, Uganda with spectacular views that take in the tallest mountain range in Africa (also a UNESCO world heritage site) towering over where the Rift Valley meets the Congo Basin.

Races in rural Africa are all about dirt running paths and local children running alongside you. This event also incorporates a few days of other activities so you can experience Uganda with the security of expert event organisers at hand. It’s not for profit too, which is always good.

Website: runningtheriftmarathon.com

3. Trail Marathon Wales

Marathon & Half Marathon, Wales, June

We can take for granted the cracking countryside and rugged running the UK has to offer when we’re drooling over races in more exotic parts of the world, but for a beautiful trail marathon that’s not a million miles away, there’s Trail Marathon Wales in Snowdonia National Park. This is the ‘biggest’ race on our list in terms of participants (about 1250 for both distances), so you’ll get a lot of support from the crowds. The countryside you’ll run through does a good job of making you realise what’s not far from your doorstep!

Website: trailmarathonwales.com

4. Tuscany Crossing

32k or 53k, Italy, April

This race will see you running through the UNESCO World Heritage site of Valle d’ Orcia, we implore you to Google-image that! The landscape describes the race perfectly; rolling hills provide comfortable undulations with mainly trail paths. June in Tuscany will be warm to make it a little more challenging. Lost World Racing (the event organiser) describe this as “one of the most beautiful and memorable race locations in the series!”

Website: lostworldsracing.com/tuscany-crossing

5. Everest Marathon

Marathon, Nepal, November (2017)


This is a bit of a cheat but we couldn’t resist as it’s firmly at the top of the We Are Runners team marathon bucket list. The reason it’s a cheat is because it happens every other year and 2016 is the year off…but the extra training time may come in handy for the 2017 race as “the Everest Marathon is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest marathon in the world.”

The trip includes a 15 day trek to near Everest Base Camp – where the marathon begins at an altitude of 5184m. Yes you read that right, 5184 meters. The organisers say: “the best views of Everest and one of the most gruelling races in the world.” and we don’t doubt them.

Website: everestmarathon.org.uk