We’ve all heard about the world’s elite marathons — the Boston Marathon, the London Marathon, the LA Marathon…these are the major-league events that every runner aspires to qualify for in their lifetimes.  However, for the runner who’s looking for more (and who has some cash to burn), here are some marathon choices that add some flavor to the race:

1) The North Pole Marathon: April 7, 2011.  The only marathon on a sheet of ice, this 26.2 mile track will provide a frosty challenge for any runner.  For a little over $15,000, you can fly to Spitsbergen and from there to the North Pole camp for the race, with hotel, t-shirt, medal, DVD and helicopter flights included.  For more information about the North Pole Marathon, click here.

2) The Great Wall of China Marathon: May 21, 2011.  This adventure marathon can also be run as a half-marathon, 10K or 5K, with 6-day tour packages costing $1,200 per person.  This marathon, which includes a challenging 5,164 stair course along the Great Wall, will provide the runner with some of the most spectacular views in the world.  For more information, click here.

3) The Big 5 Marathon: June 25, 2011.  Try a grueling trek through the wilds of South Africa, with no fencing between you, the the giraffes, the antelope and the elephants.  This marathon also goes through lion territory, and runners often stay  before and after the marathon in an African bush camp.  This terrifying adventure is yours for about $1500.  For more information, click here.

4) The Solar Eclipse Marathon: November 14, 2012.  This race, set in Port Douglas Australia, begins along a 4-mile beach, and takes you through an old mining road and sugarcane fields.  Runners meet at sunrise, watch the eclipse, and then start when the first rays of sunlight re-emerge from behind the moon.  Stellar, I know.   Although prices haven’t been announced yet, the package will include a tour of the Great Barrier reef, a celebration dinner, and special “eclipse-watching” sunglasses.  For more information, click here.

Remember: these just represent a sample of the kinds of adventures you can have as a marathoner.  For more wild marathon adventures, visit Adventure Racing: Across the Divide.

Would you be bold enough to run one of these marathons?  Are the people who run these awesome or just plain crazy?  Do you have a favorite?  Comment below!

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