Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Marathon Bucket List

Napa Valley Marathon in Calistoga, Calif.

The Napa Valley Marathon has fewer runners than most races—organizers accept only 2,300 racers annually—I better get my registration in right away for this one. The route runs along the Silverado Trail on the east side of the valley, and winds south from Calistoga down to Napa. It is a stunning view, with views of the valley, fruit trees and dormant vineyards flanked with gold-colored mustard flowers. Except for the last stretch into Napa, this is a rural race—just you, the road and wine country. For a girl who loves her wine it would be a perfect buck list race for me.

Paris Marathon in Paris, France
Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world. Some say there’s no better way to see the City of Light than by entering the Paris Marathon—much of the course runs beside the banks of the Seine and past some of the city’s greatest sites the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Place de la Bastille - can you imagine running by this famous landmarks!! Between 35,000 and 40,000 racers start on Champs-Élysées and run a winding loop through the city finishing near the Arc de Triomphe. Proving this marathon is quintessentially French, organizers hand out red wine and cheese to runners at the Eiffel Tower, yummy! Not that I would partake it might hinder me. Or maybe I would for the experience of the race.

Boston Marathon in Boston, Mass.

As the oldest and most prestigious race in North America, running in the Boston Marathon is a dream of mine. Racers must qualify with a time from another marathon run in the past year and a half in order to participate, I will be running the Calgary Marathon to qualify. The Patriot’s Day event starts outside of the city in rural Hopkinton and winds through several New England towns until it ends on Boylston Street in the center of the Boston. When I qualify this year I must remember to prepare properly for Heartbreak Hill between miles 20 and 21 because hills tend to kill me and with this being on the last few miles I don't want to not be able to finish because of a hill.

Virgin London Marathon in London, England

The race route passes the most iconic landmarks of England—Big Ben, the Tower of London, the London Eye—and runs along the Thames River and across the Tower Bridge at mile 12. Around 30,000 people run in the London Marathon each year, making it one of the largest in the world. Competitors start at Greenwich Park and zigzag through the city until they cross the finish line at Buckingham Palace, I will wave at the Queen when I am done.

The Great Wall Marathon in Tianjin, China

Visiting the Great Wall of China is on my bucket list  I hear that one should expect the race to take about 50 percent longer to complete than an average marathon due to extreme ascents and descents. The route starts near the village of Huangyaguan, a couple hours northeast of Beijing, and heads straight to the Wall. While going up and down the steps of the centuries-old structure, you can expect stunning 360-degree views of China’s countryside. The course then heads through scenic villages and rice fields before looping back to the Wall again for the final portion of the race.

The Big Five Marathon in Limpopo Province, South Africa

This race is like a marathon and a safari in one and that is what attracts me to it. It’s also one of the toughest, as the entire course ambles through the hills and valleys of Entabeni Game Reserve in the Waterberg district of South Africa, lots of hill training to prepare for this one. The reserve is a privately owned wonderland of wildlife and varied landscape. You’ll be rewarded with up-close views of antelope, giraffes and zebras—one leg of the race even takes runners through lion territory and it will probably be my fastest leg haha.

Athens Classic Marathon in Athens, Greece

I want to run the race where it all started. The marathon begins on an ancient battlefield in the town of Marathon. This course beings Aegean Sea and climbs up towards Athens, about 360 feet above sea level. But running a legendary route that’s more than 2,500 years old would be incredible, especially when you reach the finish line at Panathinaiko Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896, how cool would that be to enter the stadium that people long ago held the first modern Olympics!!

Honolulu Marathon

I j’adore Hawaii it is a beautiful place, the scenery can distract any runner. The course—an ultra-scenic route through Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head and Hawaii Kai—ends at Kapiolani Park, where runners can hobble across the street and jump right in the ocean, and I will be doing just that when I finish. Though the course is gorgeous, the course is also challenging in spots: Diamond Head Road between miles seven and eight rises roughly 120 feet above sea level, rising again a mile from the finish, and crosswinds are known to be a factor. There is no cap on the number of runners and the finish line is kept open until 8:30 P.M., more than 15 hours after the starting gun fires so I can totally make it in 15 hours with the odd dip in the ocean.

NG New York City Marathon

What began in 1970 with 55 out of 127 pioneering runners completing 26.2 miles worth of loops in Central Park has exploded into one of the most revered marathons in the world. Entry is based on a lottery. The course starts on Staten Island and winds its way through all five boroughs, crosses five bridges and ends in Manhattan’s legendary Central Park. Roughly two million spectators line the way cheering madly, and the energy is infectious. It’s a fascinating tour of New York and, like most things done in this town, makes a distinctive statement. What I would give to run in one of the most fashionable cities in the world. I would have to look good running it too, wouldn't want Marc Jacobs or Joe Zee seeing me in nothing but the best running clothes.

Walt Disney Marathon

I love Disney! I always have since I was a little girl. I would love to run the Walt Disney Marathon. I mean seriously it is the happiest place on earth, how could it not be the happiest marathon around. With lots to distract you as you look at Disney as you run by. The Disney Marathon is on the top of my list of marathons to run. Your get to run by the Disney castle and Epcot center.  I would probably dress as a princess and run it.

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