International Marathons

Having done London 2002 and 2003 and Amsterdam 2002, I'm looking for a new international marathon next year (far too exhausted after FLM this year to contemplate another one yet). This will be my 4th and would want to try and get somewhere between 3.30 and 3.45

Anyone run somewhere particularly impressive (town, organisation, course) and would recommend it?


  • Berlin, end September, runner's race is about the same size as London with the addition of 8000-plus inline skaters and a couple of thousand power walkers, making a total last year of around 47,000 competitors. The city of Berlin is beautiful, and the course takes in many of the best landmarks, finishing through the Brandenburg Gate. This year is the 30th race, making it older than London. Organization is tip-top, the Berliners turn out in the millions to support the runners, and the weather is usually pleasant. World records, both male and female, have been set in recent years here.
  • Reykjavik Marathon (mid-August) is a wonderful race. It's a small field (4000 when I did it in 2001), which gives it a very relaxed, friendly feel. The organisation was superb. The course itself is not totally flat, but generally sticks to the coastline so isn't too bad at all. It is very beautiful scenery to run in. I loved it and will definitely be doing another some time.

    Reykjavik itself is a great place to visit. I stuck around for a week after the race and had one of my best holidays ever.
  • Jose.Jose. ✭✭✭
    did madrid this year.
    organisation is good, price cheap, goody bag further much better than london (running vest, t-shirt, sports bag,...). But it was hot (in 2002 it was raining cat and dogs) and it's undalating (no big hills but...though)

    Tromso in Norway (i did the 10k associated to it in 2001), again good organisation, cheap, and you run at midnight under the sun, good temperature. But it's the artic and there're chances of rain and, therefore, no sun at midnight.
  • One I will never recommend is Prague - a bigger rip-off than the British 10 km and the worst-organised race I have ever done. Don't be caught out by their inflated advertising, this is a beautiful city but one lousy race.
  • Oh Ratcatcher that's a shame...Prague is one I've had on my to-do list for a while, should I replace it?
  • Nic, I actually posted that hoping someone might come back all defensive and say it was lovely and I just had a bad experience, because I had so looked forward to it and was miserable it turned out to be so awful.

    A summary of my complaints:
    1) No sports drink, despite being advertised.
    2) Very warm water all round, obviously had been standing in the sun for hours so did nothing to quench thirst.
    3) No results sent in any form, despite T-Mobile being the main sponsor and promising results by email and SMS as soon as you crossed the line. Mr RC had my mobile for this reason so he'd know when I finished, but he'd still be waiting!
    4) Goodie bag consisted of advertising pamphlets and that was it! Nothing else. T-shirt and medal were given separately, though.
    5) Almost non-existent expo.
    6) Promise of live music, ranging from classical through to sontemporaru all along the course materialised as three awful rock bands, one of which was packing up as I got there (4:10 pace).
    7) Still nothing cold to drink afterwards. It was 24 degrees and run at midday, so something to drink, on or after the race, would have been nice.
    8) Treatment of women. This still has me horrified. Men were seeded into start pens depending on their expected times. Except for a handful of invited elite women all women started in the last pen, regardless of ability. The 10th man won the same as the 1st woman.
    9) T-shirt of such lousy quality that it was so faded and shrunk after the first wash it has been unwearable since.
    10) Took full payment for a race video the afternoon before the race and then emailed afterwards to say they hadn't made one.
    11) No crowd control at the end. I was fighting my way past tourists standing (in the path) screaming encouragement. If I had had enough moisture in my mouth to talk I would have asked them to let me through rather!

    Just a lousy run all round. I do think they've got a long way to go before deserving the title of International Marathon.

  • sontemporary=contemporary

    I didn't mention the cobbles because they aren't down to bad organisation. It is just worth knowing because there are a lot, far more than London, and are at the start and end so your legs start off being knackered and get it worse coming back.
  • Thanks for the pro's and cons guys. Had thought of doing Prague but will wait and see whether your's was a one of Ratcatcher - though it sounds like it certainly wasn't!

    Looks like I've a few to chose from for next year though.

    Better dust off the old phrase book - how do you say 'I would love to get up off the road officer, but I'm far too stiff/drunk' in Icelandic?
  • Thanks RC. Main reason I had Prague in mind is that I have family there...would definitely ask around for others' stories if I did want to do it!
  • Dr Galah - I found everyone understands English so I didn't need to translate that particular phrase! Another plus for Reykjavik.
  • Another vote for Reykjavik, both the race and the City. Fantastic.

    Also if you get round in 3.30 you will probably finish top twenty which makes a good story for an international marathon.

    Incidentally Ratcatcher, although there are about 4000 runners at the start I doubt if more than a couple of hundred actually do the full marathon, most just do the one lap.
  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭
    Yes, but isn't Rejkjavik a horrendously expensive place to stay?
  • Richard, the year we did it there were separate starts for the half and the full. Maybe I overestimated.

    Reykjavik is expensive, but there is a youth hostel and a camping site for cheaper options. It is well, well worth it.
  • Well ratcatcher I quickly deduced that you didnt do Praque this year. I did Prague Belfast Paris and Rotterdam all this year and Prague was my favorite.

    1)Water Feeding & sponge stations superb (sports drinks water bananas oranges sugar) as good as Paris without the pushing
    3)Results. I was at work 7.00am on Monday morning and my Race certificate was waiting for me complete with splits and gross and net times.
    4)Got teeshirt at registration ok not my favorite but at finish I got 2nd different tee shirt and excellant race medal
    5) Race Expo in Wencelas Square was addequate
    6) Live music saw lots more than 3 and all are appreciated especially the school kids singing
    7) Plenty of water bottles at the finish it was around 19 degrees ant the start is at 9.00 not midday
    9) I was in the 3.30 pen as were some women
    10) dont know anything about race video
    11) Finish was slick this year all coordened off as was the whole race on traffic free route nearly all barriered I had collected bag and was drinking a well earned pint quietly 50 yards away.

    I'll be back 2004
  • Oh, goodie! (Dr Nic pencils Prague back in to her Wish List)
  • EEyin, that is just world's away from my experience. It doesn't even sound like the same race. I wonder if there were a lot of complaints last year so they really had to clean up their act.

    One of the main attractions for me was the range of different music promised. The route map they gave us showed us all the places were there was going to be music, and what it was. I was really looking forward to the classical stuff. That's why I was so disappointed not to have any. I would have appreciated school kids singing!
  • My only regret was staying only 24 hours.
    I'll be taking the family next year for a long weekend. Would like to see the castle.
  • Correction! Richard, I have just been to the Reykjavik Marathon site and I see they say only 200 did it last year, so I was seriously out. I had the figure of 4000 in my head from before I went there, so I think I must have read 400 somewhere and assumed it was wrong so upped it to a more realistic 4000. Sorry about the exaggeration. I didn't realise it was such a tiny field. Despite that I did have other people with me the whole time when I did it, running at just under 4:00 pace.
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