Top 10 Marathons and More
Chris’ personal picks from places in the world that he has visited.
Cambridge Boundary Marathon, UK:
My running life kicked off one night at a boisterous Cambridge University student party: I took a bet to run a traditional 32 mile race around the medieval boundaries of Cambridge…the next day. I did so, through muddy fields and over hedges – but I couldn’t bike to lectures for a week!
The most magnificent city marathon in the world…As a thirty-something I felt I had to rise to the challenge of just one ‘proper’ marathon…It’s a stirring experience as a runner: from the start in Greenwich Park, along the Thames, over Tower Bridge to the Houses of Parliament and finishing at the gates of Buckingham Palace.
It seemed like a fun idea at the time: run a Caribbean marathon and broadcast my radio Travel Show from the finish line. It had been 20 years since my London Marathon and yet I somehow thought I could trot around 42.2km under the tropical sun. A gorgeous course along the Platinum Coast, but tough, tough, tough.
After two excruciating Barbados Marathons, I took a marathon clinic at my local Running Room timed for the Ottawa race. What a difference in the cooler weather! The course is terrific: Parliament Hill, Ottawa River bridges, the Rideau Canal. Imagine my surprise when I found myself running a Boston-qualifying time…
So, on to the ultimate ambition for marathoners – Boston: the only major marathon in the world where you have to attain a tough qualifying time just to get to the start line. I ran this most storied race, from the rural roads of Hopkinton to the finish line in Boston with the cheers of half a million spectators roaring in my ears.
This is my home town marathon and holds a special place in my heart. From Mel Lastman Square in North York, south down characterful Yonge Street to Lake Ontario and looping back to the finish at Queen’s Park, the route is always interesting…and mostly downhill! This has been my personal best time for the marathon.
Cayman Islands Marathon:
Possibly the most laid-back marathon in the world…Starting at 5am in the velvet tropical night, runners first smell the salty tang of the Caribbean and then the Caribbean is revealed in all its turquoise glory as dawn breaks over this tiny island paradise. Scrunching tired toes on an idyllic beach after the race is heavenly.
Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, Orlando:
This is the newest opportunity to run with Mickey through Disney’s parks in Orlando. Run through Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, finishing inside Epcot to an exclusive after-hours party inside the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – the ultimate "Runner's Night Out".
The race is just part of the training for the main event: surviving a night in the bars of Reykjavík! This is truly an Icelandic experience with nearly 5% of the entire country’s population taking part in one of the running events on marathon weekend. Come for the race and stay for the unique Icelandic bonhomie afterwards!
Hamilton Around The Bay:
A nice bit of trivia for you: this is the oldest race in the Americas, first run in 1894 and so three years older than Boston. Four times I have run this infernal race which is held in March in Ontario – with all the weather demons that this can unleash. Each time has been a unique experience: a real runner’s race.