As popular New York City Youtuber Casey Neistat once said, there are two types of people in this world: those who run, and everyone else.
Which one are you? Are you obsessed with running? Do you feel physically down if you miss your daily run? Do you own more than five pairs of running shoes?
Or, are you one of those people who hasn’t run for longer than a few minutes since high school gym class? Maybe you workout, but the monotony of cardio is the last thing on your mind when pumping some iron.
Perhaps you’re somewhere in between: you enjoy a run every now and then but don’t care enough to join a hardo running club such as North Brooklyn Runners. But let’s face it, it’d be cool to say you’ve finished a marathon or some other type of race. For that very reason, we’ve compiled a list of 5 of the world’s most unique, authentic, and downright cool foot races for you to check out, with some that aren’t for the faint-hearted while others anyone (we hope) could finish.
1. The Great Wall Marathon (China)
Definitely not the world’s easiest race, the Great Wall Marathon takes you to a new level of breathlessness: the sharp inclines of the Great Wall punish your lungs while the unbelievable views literally snatch your breath away –after all, you are running along one of the 7 Wonders of the World.
2. Canicross Race, Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival (Maine)
Do you love your dog so much that you can’t bear to leave him home while you run? Does your dog need to lose some lbs post-Thanksgiving feasting? Bring your favorite canine on the Canicross Race through the beautiful rolling hills of Maine. As only 5k in distance, this is certainly an easy one, and you get to enjoy some delicious post-race BBQ!
3. Reggae Marathon (Jamaica)
A far more relaxed race than the Great Wall Marathon, the Reggae Marathon will put a smile on your face as you run while listening to –you guessed it–reggae blasting from enormous speakers set throughout the beach race course. The male winners receive the Bob Marley trophy and the female winner takes home the Rita Marley trophy.
4. Bagan Temple Marathon (Myanmar)
The city of Bagan, Myanmar (formerly Burma) is an ancient city. And we’re talking ancient –it’s around 1,400 years old. In true Indiana Jones style, Bagan has more than 2,200 temples scattered around the area, making for an enchanting spectacle as you traverse the relatively flat landscape. You’ll find yourself running alongside kids and locals on horse-drawn carts...and maybe even a boulder.
5. The Jungle Ultra Marathon (Amazon Rainforest)
Perhaps you’ve made it through this list without finding anything serious enough for you. If so, you’re probably thinking: Man, where can I find some actual races that’ll give me a good workout? Don’t worry. We’ve found just the race to make even the strongest of cardio-warriors tremble: The Jungle Ultra Marathon in the Amazon Rainforest. 142 miles long in one of the most humid places on Earth, the race is almost entirely self-sufficient. Runners have to bring everything they can think of to survive: sleeping bags, backpacks, food. Water is the only thing that will be refilled at checkpoints. You get to sleep in various research stations and lodges, but headlamps are encouraged as runners often run in total darkness through the mud and water. For safety reasons, you get 6 days of survival specialist training before being dropped into the deep jungle. Understandably, this race has been called the world’s most terrifying adventure.