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8 must-do spring marathons (European edition)

8-spring-marathons-european-edition

A couple of weeks ago, we shared some of our favorite spring marathons in the U.S. If you live across the pond – or just need an excuse to take a European vacation – we’ve got some spring marathon suggestions for you, too. Consider the below races. (Note: we’re only highlighting races with availability. The London Marathon would have made this list, for example, but the race has reached capacity.)

  1. Greater Manchester Marathon. Manchester, England, United Kingdom, April 6, 2014. If you want a flat, fast course, look no further than the Greater Manchester Marathon. With only 54m of elevation change, this race is the flattest marathon in the UK. The race also boasts top-notch entertainment and volunteers along the course. Register here.
  2. Brighton Marathon. Brighton, England, United Kingdom, April 6, 2014. The Brighton Marathon is the second largest marathon in the UK, with more than 18,000 runners participating last year. The race showcases the beautiful south coast of England. Standard entries have closed but there are still charity spots available. Learn more here.
  3. Paris Marathon. Paris, France, April 6, 2014. The Paris Marathon (pictured above) starts on the Avenue de Champs-Élysées and takes runners on a tour of Paris. The most attractive part of this race, though, may be the offerings at the aid stations – runners can fuel up with wine, beer, and cider. This marathon is one of the largest in Europe, capped at 37,000 runners. Register here.
  4. Rotterdam Marathon. Rotterdam, Netherlands, April 13, 2014. The Rotterdam Marathon is repeatedly ranked as one of the top marathons in the world by Runner’s World due to its flat course and typically ideal weather. It attracts many of the world’s top competitors – to date, six runners have clocked a sub 2:05:00 time on the course. Register here.
  5. Rotary Shakespeare Marathon. Stratford-upon-Avon, England, United Kingdom, April 27, 2014. The Rotary Shakespeare Marathon is a smaller marathon – the race is capped at 3,700 runners –but it comes with a good cause. The event is completely nonprofit. About 40 percent or registration fees go towards event expenses and the rest of the money goes directly to charities, mainly the Shakespeare Hospice. Register here.
  6. Düsseldorf Marathon. Düsseldorf, Germany, April 27, 2014. The Düsseldorf Marathon is a relatively flat, double-looped course which takes runners through the city and along the Rhine. The marathon isn’t the most popular event of the weekend, though – tens of thousands of runners participate in the marathon road relay and celebrate at the end with an ice cold beer. Register here.
  7. Prague Marathon. Prague, Czech Republic, May 11, 2014. The Prague Marathon is touted as the “world’s most international marathon” with runners coming from over 50 countries. The race has also been voted the most beautiful course in the world. The scenic route takes runners through Prague’s historical sites and over eight bridges. Register here.
  8. Edinburgh Marathon Festival. Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, May 25, 2014. The Edinburgh Marathon is advertised by race organizers as one of the flattest and fastest 26.2 miles in the world, and the perfect place to set a marathon PR. What’s more, Edinburgh was recently voted the second best destination in the UK for a city marathon – second only to London. Register here.

Written by Jen Matz / Photo from WikiMedia Commons