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Amazing races around the region

24 Mar 2010

Isn’t it time you got off that hotel treadmill and hit the road? Competitive heats are happening across the Asia-Pacific, including your own city as well. On your mark, get set, go!

NAGANO OLYMPIC COMMEMORATIVE MARATHON

Where: Nagano City, Japan

When: April 18

Why is it special? Nagano hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. The marathon route here is called the Nagano Olympic Memorial Course. Participants run alongside some of the facilities that were used during the 1998 games. Runners finish the race at the Olympic Memorial Stadium.

Website: www.naganomarathon.gr.jp

THE GREAT WALL MARATHON

Where: Great Wall of China, Tianjin province

When: May 15

Why is it special? While large parts of the route are on flat asphalt and gravel roads, the real experience and challenge is to run on sections of the Great Wall itself, one of the world’s true man-made marvels. Runners will have to climb 5,164 steps across around 9km of the race that is located on and across the wall. The rest of the race takes runners through villages and rice fields. Average finish times on this gruelling course are five to six hours.

Website: www.great-wall-marathon.com

LAGUNA PHUKET INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

Where: Laguna Phuket, Thailand

When: June 13

Why is it special? This is truly a family fun event. Alongside the full marathon, there is a half marathon, a 10k Run, a 5k Walk and a 2K Kids Run, making the day accessible to all ages and fitness levels. The full course takes runners from the Laguna resort complex to head north through local villages and rubber plantations. In 2009, 4,500 participants, including 1,500 international participants from 43 countries, took part and for the 2010 event more than 5,000 participants are expected.

Website: www.phuketmarathon.com

AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK MARATHON

Where: Northern Territory, Australia

When: July 31

Why is it special? This is Australia’s first adventure marathon. The Australian Outback Marathon, Half Marathon, 11km and 6km courses takes place across the Red Centre, the arid bush country in the geographical heart of the country. Runners will be running off-road much of the time, following bush trails, access roads and tracks. The harsh terrain will be more than made up, however, by the breathtaking views of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) that are the backdrop to this very special part of Australia.

Website: www.australianoutbackmarathon.com

BANYAN TREE BANGKOK VERTICAL MARATHON

Where: Banyan Tree Bangkok hotel, Thailand

When: September 12

Why is it special? This race starts on the ground floor in front of this boutique hotel. It finishes 196m higher up on the 61st floor at the Banyan Tree’s Vertigo rooftop restaurant. The record for scaling the 1,093 steps is little more than six minutes. The run is for a Red Cross charity to help those with HIV, last year it raised more than US$21,000. There are hotel stays and many other prizes for the fastest teams.

Website: www.banyantree.com

STANDARD CHARTERED SINGAPORE MARATHON

Where: Singapore

When: December 5

Why is it special? This is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, a major sporting event in the athletics world. Combined with several other shorter races, including one for wheelchairs, the marathon attracts around 50,000 participants from all parts of the world. Since 2001, the men’s championship has been dominated by Kenyan runners, the women’s by a mixture of East African and East European runners.

Website: www.singaporemarathon.com

Kenny  Coyle

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