Best Marathons in the World 2023 – Get Ready Runners

Best Marathons in the World 2023

There is an extensive range of marathons that take place around the world every year, offering runners various terrains, weather conditions, and unique experiences. If you’re planning to run a marathon for the first time, you’re probably curious about which ones are the best in the world.

Even if you’re an experienced marathoner, it can be exciting to discover new races to add to your running bucket list.

Whether you prefer large marathons with crowds of spectators and elaborate race-day features or smaller, less crowded races with a more intimate atmosphere, there is a marathon for everyone. The list below provides ten of the world’s best marathons, each with its own charm and appeal, as agreed upon by the marathon community.

By exploring these races, you can discover what makes each of them special and find one that suits your preferences. Running a marathon can be a significant accomplishment, and participating in one of these top-notch races can make the experience even more memorable.

Top 10 Marathons in the World 2023

Here is the list of the top 10 marathons in the world:






Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running

October 1, 2023

Inverness, Scotland


Run Rome the Marathon

March 19, 2023

Rome, Italy


Marathon du Médoc

September 2, 2023

Pauillac, France


Reykjavik Marathon

August 19, 2023

Reykjavik, Iceland


BMW Berlin Marathon

September 24, 2023

Berlin, Germany


Dublin Marathon

October 29, 2023

Dublin, Ireland


Petra Desert Marathon

September 2, 2023

Petra, Jordan


World’s Fastest Marathon

October 14, 2023

Pradollano, Spain


Australian Outback Marathon

July 29, 2023

Alice Springs, Australia


TCS London Marathon

April 23, 2023

London, United Kingdom


1. Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running (October 1, 2023)

If you’re looking for a marathon with stunning scenery and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, the Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running in Inverness, Scotland, is an excellent choice. The marathon features a point-to-point course that showcases the beauty of the Scottish Highlands, including mountains, forests, and pastures, with stunning views of the famous Loch Ness.

One of the highlights of the Loch Ness Marathon is the friendly and supportive local community, which goes above and beyond to welcome and encourage runners. Although the course can be quiet in some areas, the warmth and enthusiasm of the residents more than make up for it.

In recent years, the Loch Ness Marathon has become increasingly popular, with over 3,000 participants from around the world. This marathon is not only a great opportunity to challenge yourself and experience the thrill of competition but also a chance to immerse yourself in Scottish culture and history.

So, whether you’re a seasoned runner or a first-timer, add the Loch Ness Marathon to your bucket list and experience the breathtaking beauty of the Scottish Highlands and the warmth of its people. And who knows, you might even catch a glimpse of the legendary Loch Ness Monster, affectionately known as Nessie!

2. Run Rome the Marathon (March 19, 2023)

If you’re looking for an incredible race experience that combines stunning architecture and historic landmarks, the Run Rome the Marathon is a must-run event. This marathon, held in March in Rome, Italy, features a breathtaking course that takes runners through some of the city’s most iconic sites.

During the race, you’ll have the chance to run along cobblestone streets while admiring the Coliseum, St. Peter’s Square, and the Spanish Steps. The course is both challenging and rewarding, featuring about 6 kilometers of cobblestone that can be tricky for some runners.

It’s important to prepare for this section of the course to ensure you can enjoy the race to the fullest.

With almost 10,000 runners participating, Run Rome the Marathon has a great race atmosphere, and you’ll have plenty of time to take in your surroundings as you run through the Eternal City. The weather during this time of year is generally pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 44°F to 60°F.

Overall, if you’re looking for a race that combines stunning architecture, historic landmarks, and a challenging course, Run Rome the Marathon is an excellent choice. It’s an unforgettable experience that you won’t want to miss!

3. Marathon du Médoc (September 2, 2023)

If you’re a wine enthusiast looking for a unique marathon experience, then the Marathon du Médoc is the perfect race for you. Taking place in Pauillac, France, on September 2, 2023, this marathon is well-known for its yearly themes and wine stops.

Participants of the Marathon du Médoc can dress up according to the yearly theme, which adds to the fun and festive atmosphere of the event. The highlight of the marathon is the opportunity to run through over 50 chateaux and vineyards, where runners can indulge in more than 20 wine stops.

Despite the distractions, the Marathon du Médoc is still a challenging race, with a mix of paved and unpaved terrain. But the stunning scenery and wine stops along the way make it a unique and enjoyable experience.

It’s important to note that the Marathon du Médoc is highly sought-after, and the race has placed a cap of 8,500 registrants, which often fills up quickly. So if you want to run this highly-rated marathon, make sure to secure your spot in advance.

4. Reykjavik Marathon (August 19, 2023)

If you’re seeking a unique and enjoyable marathon experience, the Reykjavik Marathon is an excellent choice. With a moderate climate and a smaller participation size, this highly rated race offers an ideal setting for runners to achieve their personal bests.

With about 1,000 runners joining the race, the atmosphere is intimate and friendly. The course is mostly flat and paved, offering a comfortable run, and the stunning scenery of Reykjavik is unparalleled. Runners will have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful views of the water as they make their way through the course.

The Reykjavik Marathon takes place during the Icelandic Culture Night event, Menningarnott, which is a popular celebration in the country. The festive atmosphere brings much of the country to the capital city, allowing runners to enjoy the excitement and culture of the local community.

The race is highly recommended by previous participants for its scenic beauty, welcoming ambiance, and perfect weather conditions. After completing the marathon, you can join the locals in the celebration and festivities of Menningarnott, making it an unforgettable experience.

Don’t miss the chance to earn a medal and experience the beauty and culture of Reykjavik!

5. BMW Berlin Marathon (September 24, 2023)

If you’re aiming to complete the Abbott World Marathon Majors, the BMW Berlin Marathon is an event you won’t want to miss. This marathon is renowned for its generally favorable weather conditions and a high number of spectators.

The event is extremely well-organized, with runners praising everything from the massive expo to the smooth race day logistics. Another advantage of this race is that the course is very fast, with several former world records set here.

More than 25,000 runners gather at the start line of this popular race. While there are some wide sections of the course, it’s important to remember that it’s a World Major, so competition for a place is high.

You’ll need to be lucky enough to secure a spot through the registration lottery, but if you do, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in an outstanding international event. Plus, nothing beats the feeling of crossing the finish line at the iconic Brandenburg Gate.

Overall, the BMW Berlin Marathon is an event that offers runners an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re looking to complete the World Marathon Majors or simply want to challenge yourself on a fast and well-organized course, this race is definitely worth considering. With plenty of runners and spectators to motivate and support you, this marathon is sure to be a highlight of your running career.

6. Dublin Marathon (October 29, 2023)

The Dublin Marathon is a must-run event for those seeking to experience the beauty of both the city and countryside of Ireland. With average temperatures ranging from 47°F to 53°F, runners can expect comfortable conditions for the race.

The course, which attracts around 20,000 participants, takes runners through the bustling city of Dublin as well as the serene Phoenix Park, offering a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of Ireland. In addition, the changing autumn leaves provide a breathtaking backdrop for the runners.

One of the notable features of this marathon is the immense support from the locals, who come out in droves to cheer on the runners, creating a truly electric atmosphere. The relatively flat course with gently rolling hills makes it accessible to runners of all levels.

If you’re looking for a marathon that offers more than just a race, then the Dublin Marathon is for you. Not only will you get to run through the streets of one of the world’s most beautiful cities, but you’ll also experience the charm and hospitality of the Irish people, making it an unforgettable experience.

7. Petra Desert Marathon (September 2, 2023)

For runners who are up for a unique challenge and a smaller marathon, the Petra Desert Marathon in Petra, Jordan, is an event that shouldn’t be missed. The marathon is scheduled for September 2, 2023, and the average weather during that time ranges from 65°F to 86°F.

The terrain in this race is not for the faint of heart, as it includes massive hills and sandy, rocky ground. However, runners who have participated in the event in the past have raved about the stunning views, including camels and goats, and the unique sights along the way, such as the Siq and the Petra Treasury.

The Petra Desert Marathon usually attracts around 100 marathon participants, making it a smaller event compared to other major marathons.

For international runners, the Petra Desert Marathon is part of the Albatros Adventure Marathons, similar to the World’s Fastest Marathon. This means that participants must purchase a multi-day tour package that includes accommodations and tours to explore the beauty of Jordan.

Although the terrain of the Petra Desert Marathon is quite challenging, runners from all over the world agree that it is well worth the effort. The opportunity to run in a unique and stunning location like Petra, Jordan, and to explore the beauty and history of the area makes this marathon a one-of-a-kind experience.

8. World’s Fastest Marathon (October 14, 2023)

For runners who are seeking to set a personal best, the World’s Fastest Marathon in Pradollano, Spain, is the perfect destination. The event is scheduled for October 14, 2023, and the average weather during that time ranges from 51°F to 74°F.

The race starts at the ski resort town of Pradollano and continues on a 100% downhill course to the finish line in Granada. This unique course provides a stunning view of the Sierra Nevada and offers an excellent opportunity for runners to achieve their personal best time.

Despite being known as the fastest marathon in the world, this event only attracts around 100 participants. This means that runners will have plenty of room to run and won’t feel crowded during the race.

The World’s Fastest Marathon is organized in conjunction with the Albatros Adventure Marathons, similar to the Petra Desert Marathon. A tour package must be purchased for race entry, which includes accommodations and tours to explore the beauty of Spain.

With so much to see and experience in Spain, having a tour company is undoubtedly a plus. The combination of the breathtaking views and fast course makes this race a must-do for runners seeking to achieve their personal best time.

9. Australian Outback Marathon (July 29, 2023)

If you’re looking for a unique and adventurous marathon experience, the Australian Outback Marathon in Alice Springs, Australia, is definitely worth considering. The event is scheduled for July 29, 2023, and the average weather conditions during that time range from 42°F to 69°F.

Unlike traditional marathons, this race takes place on unpaved terrain, which adds an extra level of difficulty and excitement for participants. Similar to the Petra Desert Marathon, runners are required to purchase a complete package that includes accommodations and food options.

The travel agency Traveling Fit specializes in organizing this race and strives to put the runners’ needs first, ensuring that participants have a memorable experience from start to finish. With a focus on providing everything necessary for runners to enjoy both the traveling and racing aspects of the event, Traveling Fit has gained a reputation for excellent customer service.

It’s essential to keep in mind that running on the infamous red sand in the Australian Outback is not for the faint of heart. While the race has attracted over 200 participants in recent years, it is still considered a challenging marathon. However, the unique setting and adventurous nature of the event make it a favorite among many marathon runners who are up for a challenge.

10. TCS London Marathon (April 23, 2023)

The TCS London Marathon, which takes place on April 23, 2023, in London, United Kingdom, is one of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors. These races are highly regarded and renowned for their excellent organization and passionate support, making them some of the best marathons in the world.

Due to the popularity of these races, entry is via a lottery system known as the ballot in London. The demand to participate in the London Marathon is very high, and only a fraction of the applicants are accepted.

One unique feature of the London Marathon is that it has three separate start areas, each designated by a different color. This allows for a more manageable start line and ensures a smoother and more comfortable start for the 40,000 runners participating in the event.

One of the highlights of the London Marathon is the breathtaking view as runners cross the River Thames, with the world-famous Tower Bridge as a backdrop. This iconic location is sure to leave a lasting impression on participants and spectators alike.

With an average temperature ranging from 54°F to 62°F, the London Marathon offers comfortable weather conditions for runners to perform at their best.

Biggest Marathon in the World

The TCS New York City Marathon, organized by New York Road Runners (NYRR), is the most prestigious marathon in the world. It is also the largest, with over 1.2 million finishers since its inaugural race in 1970. The first event attracted a mere 127 entrants and just 55 runners finished four laps around Central Park.

The marathon was extended to cover all five boroughs of New York City in 1976, and since then, it has been held annually on the first Sunday of November. The event attracts over 53,000 runners, including elite athletes from around the world, as well as a diverse range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners.

The runners traverse the city, starting at Staten Island near the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and making their way through Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx before finishing in Manhattan.

The marathon is a massive event, with over one million spectators and thousands of volunteers cheering the runners along the course. The event is broadcast on television in 170 countries and territories, attracting millions of viewers worldwide. The TCS New York City Marathon is an iconic event, known for its challenging course, enthusiastic crowds, and the exceptional experience it provides to runners and spectators alike.

Best Half Marathons in the World

With approximately 50,000 participants in the 2022 event, the New York City Half Marathon is undoubtedly one of the most popular half marathons in the world. This urban race provides runners with a unique opportunity to experience the vibrant energy of New York City while also passing by some of its most iconic landmarks. The race begins in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and continues through the Manhattan Bridge, offering stunning views of the city’s skyline.

The course then winds through several famous locations, including Times Square, Grand Central Station, and Central Park, before finishing at the iconic South Street Seaport. The enthusiasm of the runners and the cheering spectators along the course is incredibly exhilarating, making this race a perfect choice for those who love big-city energy and landmarks.

The New York City Half Marathon takes place in the middle of March every year, making it an excellent way to kick off the spring running season. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a first-timer, the race provides a unique and memorable experience that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Hardest Marathons in the World

Here are some of the hardest marathons in the world:

Marathon des Sables: This race takes place over six days and covers 156 miles (250 km) through the Sahara Desert. Participants must carry all their food and supplies, with temperatures reaching up to 120°F (49°C).

Barkley Marathons: Considered one of the toughest ultramarathons, this race takes place in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee. The course is unmarked and runners must navigate through rough terrain, with a total elevation gain of 59,000 feet (18,000 meters).

Inca Trail Marathon: This race takes place in the Peruvian Andes, with runners ascending to 13,800 feet (4,200 meters) above sea level. The course includes steep inclines, uneven terrain, and narrow paths.

Jungfrau Marathon: This marathon takes place in Switzerland and includes an uphill climb of over 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) in the last 7 miles (11 km) of the race. The high altitude and challenging terrain make it one of the toughest marathons in the world.

Great Wall Marathon: This race takes place on the Great Wall of China, with runners climbing over 5,000 steps along the way. The steep inclines and uneven terrain make it a challenging and grueling race.

Participating in any of these marathons requires intense physical and mental preparation, as they are some of the toughest races in the world.

Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site.

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