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The world’s most famous marathons

Amazing runs, everywhere from Norway to New York

A shot of the Virgin Money London Marathon finish line

Every marathon you run is special. But some are just that little bit more spectacular. Whether you want to test yourself against the best or just fancy a change of scenery, these races offer up something unforgettable.

The tougher the route, the more exotic the challenge – and the more funds you’re likely to raise for a great cause.

Virgin Money London Marathon – April

Impossible to ignore, this is a flagship event for marathon runners worldwide. The mostly flat route is not too testing for first-timers either. And the sights are fantastic, with landmarks like Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace helping to distract from the strain on your muscles.

The ballot is usually open for a week after the current race – the next one is 26 April 2020 – and many charities have places too.

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Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris – April

Around 50,000 runners make their way through the idyllic streets of Paris every year, passing world-famous landmarks such as the Louvre, the Bastille and the Eiffel Tower. The starting line on Avenue des Champs-Élysées is an unforgettable sight in itself.

Unusually, you will need a doctor’s note to run in this marathon. If you arrive without it, you won’t be running.

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Boston Marathon – April

Held every Patriot’s Day, the Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon – it has run continuously since 1897. The race has such pedigree that qualifying is notoriously difficult. Even making it to the starting line gives you bragging rights.

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Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series: Pembrokeshire Marathon – April

Ideal for those runners who want to push themselves. This is a technical hilly trail with some climbs that feel like they might never end. But when they do, the stunning natural views are well worth the effort: think majestic cliff faces, golden beaches and vistas that stretch for miles.

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NYC Marathon – November

As big as it gets, with over 50,000 runners – including elite-level athletes from all over the world. The route goes through all five boroughs and passes numerous iconic locations, including First Avenue, Central Park, and Madison Avenue Bridge.

This is a favourite with local celebs too – previous runners include Ryan Reynolds, Pamela Anderson, and Alanis Morrisette to name just a few.

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Midnight Sun Marathon – June

This night-time marathon capitalises on the constant sunlight of Tromsø, Norway in summer months. Most runners finish around midnight, when it’s still light.

Few other locations could match its environment: a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and shimmering blue waters. You won’t get the big city crowds here, but your photos will be truly spectacular.

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Ready to run?

Secure your spot at these famous starting lines, then kick-start your marathon journey by setting up a Virgin Money Giving fundraising page.

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