7 Island Marathons Where You Can Run Your Heart Out in Paradise
The thought of running 26.2 miles can be daunting, so why not do it in a place that comes with warm weather and an ocean view? Next time you’ve got an itch to go all in on that next big race, do yourself a favor and tack on some PTO, because these seven island marathons are tropical vacations in disguise. On your mark, get set, book.
1. Marathon Bahamas (Nassau, Bahamas)
Nothing says paradise quite like the Caribbean, and this race is guaranteed to deliver on all your island expectations. With an oceanfront start on Junkanoo Beach (literally, prepare for sand), this course was designed to showcase many of the stunning views the Bahamas has to offer. Expect a flat yet scenic course leading you across two separate islands (Nassau and Paradise Island) followed by a full-on dance party when you cross the finish line. Marathon Bahamas also offers a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K, a half marathon and a four-person marathon relay. As a participant in both the 2019 5K and half marathon, this editor can confirm it’s a weekend full of sun, sweat and inspiration.
2. The Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon (Kauai, Hawaii)
The island of Kauai is truly in a league of its own. As the fourth largest island of Hawaii, Kauai is often referred to as “the Garden Isle” thanks to its lush rainforests and dramatic sea cliffs that line the infamous Nāpali coast. Running this course might mean sore calves, but it’s a fair trade-off for the stunning views. Prepare to high-five hula dancers on your way to the Poipu Beach finish line while local musicians cheer you on with on-course entertainment. End your weekend with a traditional-style luau, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a beach vacation.
3. Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K (Negril, Jamaica)
Set your watch to island time before hopping on a plane to Jamaica for the annual Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K. Situated along Negril’s famed Seven Mile Beach, this course is sure to have runners stepping up their game with $10,000 in prize money as well as custom Bob Marley and Rita Marley trophies awarded to the first male and female finishers. Morning temperatures averaging around 75 degrees and fresh coconut juice waiting for you at the finish line will put this island marathon on your winter getaway bucket list.
4. Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon (Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands)
Sure, the 5 a.m. start time will be a bit of a shock, but who needs sleep when you’ve got an island to explore? Complete two laps of this smooth, waterfront course to find yourself crossing the finish line before most people even wake up. Crack open an ice-cold Caybrew (recovery drink of champions), nab yourself a spot on the beach and rest easy knowing you most certainly got all of your steps in.
5. Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon (Kiawah Island, South Carolina)
Not quite looking to break out the passport? South Carolina’s Kiawah Island is host to an annual marathon and half marathon that seasoned runners can’t stop raving about. Throughout the course, you’ll enjoy views of maritime forests, marshes and old Southern homes. A group bike ride before the big day will help loosen pre-race nerves while the finish line party stocked with local beer and buffet-style pasta will help refuel tired legs. With ten miles of private beach and five championship golf courses, this island is the ideal place to get some R & R with your PR.
6. Bermuda Marathon Weekend (Hamilton, Bermuda)
This tiny island of the North Atlantic boasts an impressive reputation. Consistently ranked as one of the best islands in the Caribbean, Bermuda is known for its legendary beaches and natural wonders. Pink sand aside, this particular marathon series caught our eye with a unique three-day, three-race registration option known as the Bermuda Triangle Challenge. Consisting of three runs on three consecutive days, including a nighttime one-mile run, a morning 10K and a marathon or half marathon, this monster of a race is sure to push any runner to achieve their personal best.
7. Punta Cana Marathon (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic)
Punta Cana has so much more to offer than your poorly planned spring break trip of 2008. Hugging the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, this destination island is host to an annual marathon, half marathon and 10K race series held at the PuntaCana Resort & Club, a residential community lined with white-sand beaches and top-notch hotels. Post-race, prepare to pamper yourself at the world-renowned Six Senses Spa with a signature massage or hot stone therapy.