Charlie Watson's dream race destinations - Women's Running

My dream race destinations

Author: Chris Macdonald

Read Time:   |  October 16, 2014

My dream race destinations

My dream race destinations

Do you have a holiday destination wish list? Maybe it includes a few city breaks, a dream trip or two to a far flung destination, and the must-visit places that you’re saving up your holiday days (and pennies) for. My list seems to get updated with every wet and windy London day, or whenever I flick through a travel magazine.

Recently, however, a number of destinations are being added to the list simply because I want to run there. Whether it’s a full or half marathon, or even a ten miler race (looking at you Washington DC Cherry Blossom ten miler), or just because the trails and views look so appealing.

Sadly my boyfriend and friends aren’t as obsessed with running as I am, so they are not that keen on planning their holidays around my race plans. I have however started to make a dream destination racing list that I want to complete. (Expect this to be updated with every new issue of Women’s Running that I read that mentions an exotic race destination!)

Boston Marathon

I want to get there under my own steam, through qualifying rather than for charity, which means picking up my pace significantly. I want to feel like I’ve earned my bib to toe the line in Hopkinton. My resolve to run in the oldest, and arguably most prestigious road marathon (in running circles, at least) was only strengthened by the tragic events in 2013. This is sort of THE BIG ONE.

LA Marathon

Sunshine, beach, and a downhill aggregate – enough said.

Comrades Ultra Marathon (on a downhill year)

I said I would never ever do an ultra-marathon. I didn’t understand why people would want to push themselves to run further than 26.2 miles. However whilst an incredibly inspiring talk given by Shona Thomson (the first Scottish woman to run seven marathons on seven continents, and then at the North Pole) I decided there and then that I wanted to run the infamous South African ultra. The 90km route takes you between Pietermartizzburg and Durban, alternating routes each year. You can either run a full uphill or full downhill race, depending on the year.

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

I used to live near Washington DC as a child, and would love to go back during spring time to enjoy the city in all its glory. Apparently the cherry blossoms aren’t actually always in bloom for this popular race- –hope I pick a good year.

Tokyo Marathon

The only one of the big six marathon majors to be held outside Europe or the US. I imagine this experience would be very different to my previous marathons. Plus it’s a great excuse to explore such an interesting country.

Big Sur Relay marathon or half marathon

The views from this race make the elevation profile completely worth it. However I feel like 26.2 miles of rolling hills (including a two mile climb) might be a little more than my legs can handle, so the half or the relay seem like a brilliant option to my wussy quads.

Las Vegas Half Marathon

Run off those cocktails an after dark over 13.1 miles, basking in the lights of the world famous Las Vegas strip. Apparently you can also get married or renew your vows whilst on route – only in Vegas!

Disney Half Marathon

I love dressing up, so the excuse to dress as my favourite character to run around the Disney Parks is ideal. Plus early entry in to the ‘most fun places on earth’ is not something to be turned down. I’d love to do this in a group of friends, and have my eye on the Disney Princess half as part of the glass slipper challenge next February.

An Ultra Relay Marathon

I haven’t quite decided which one, although Hood to Coast looks pretty epic. Alternatively, one of the Ragnar Relays would be a lot of fun. Just need to find a team of runners that are equally keen for a run-cation!

Athens Marathon

The daddy of all marathons. I think if I ran Athens it would be to fully enjoy the experience rather than to get a good time, and hopefully not collapse upon arrival into Athens.

I’ve limited myself to ten for the purpose of this list, however I’d love to hear your suggestions and recommendations to keep adding (and dreaming!).  Which destination races are on your list?

Charlie Watson blogs at and can found tweeting @charliedwatson  

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Chris Macdonald

Editor-at-Large, Women's Running

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