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East Beats West When it Comes to Marathons

East Beats West When it Comes to Marathons

A runner taking part in the Bagan temple marathon

With the world famous London Marathon set to be taken on by 40,000 runners this Sunday, marathon season is well and truly here. If you’re looking for some of the best bucket list worthy marathons in the world then it might surprise you to read Asia is where it’s at.

From city races to scenic iconic marvels, if you’re planning on going the distance in 2019 then you need to make it a run to remember, in every sense of the word.

So, whether it’s running, walking or simply spectating, Asia has it covered which is why Wendy Wu Tours has paired each of these incredible runs with an equally incredible Asia tour. So put your best foot forward and enjoy five of the best Asian marathons.

The Great Wall Marathon, China (18 May 2019)

Runners climb steep steps in the Great Wall marathon

Now in its 20th year and attracting over 4,000 runners, this route travels along both restored and more traditional sections of the wall, as well as going through local villages and surrounding rolling hills. With 5,164 steps, reaching elevations of over 500m from the start line it’s no wonder this is recognised as the most challenging of Asian marathons.

For those who prefer to explore the wall at a gentler pace, experience the sunset on the Simatai section of the wall and a six-hour trek from Gubeikou to the Jinshanling section on Wendy Wu Tours’ 17-day ‘A China Adventure’ from £3,290pp.

Khmer Empire Marathon (4 August 2019)

Taking place in the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia, this marathon takes in several UNESCO Heritage Sites, including Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple, Ta Prohm and Pre Rup. The race begins and ends in front of the majestic Angkor Wat, with the race beginning at 4:30am so participants can experience the famous sunrise and avoid the heat of the day.

Another way to see Angkor Wat is from the back of a traditional tuk tuk, which passengers can enjoy on Wendy Wu Tours’ 21-day ‘Vietnam & Cambodia Discovery’ tour from £3,390pp.

Bagan Temple Marathon (23 November 2019)

Runners in the Bagan marathon

With over 2,000 magnificent stupas and pagodas, the ancient city of Bagan, Burma (main image), makes this course one of the most picturesque marathons in the world. Starting at the ancient Htilominio Temple, constructed in 1211 AD, the course takes runners along sandy tracks where you’ll wave to farmers tending their rice and peanut fields.

Be prepared to high five groups of children decked out in their festive clothes waiting to say hello. It feels like time has been standing still in this remote corner of the world.

See the Htilominio Pagoda as well as the golden stupas and Irrawaddy River on Wendy Wu Tours’ ‘Hidden Treasures of Burma’ tour from £3,390pp, which also includes three nights in Bagan.

Halong Bay Heritage Marathon (24 November 2019)

One of the newest marathons in Asia, this race takes runners along the coastal route of Vietnam’s most famous site, Halong Bay. The route is a haven of natural beauty, leading runners through fishing villages and along the shoreline, before heading over the Bai Chay Bridge, the longest single span bridge in Southeast Asia.

Experience the natural beauty of Halong Bay, the cities of Hoi An and Saigon plus magnificent Angkor Wat on Wendy Wu Tours’ 21-day ‘Vietnam & Cambodia’ tour from £3,290pp.

Tokyo Marathon (1 March 2020)

Runners in the Tokyo marathon

After ticking off the London and New York marathons, the next must-do is Tokyo. Of all the Asian marathons, this one is on a colossus scale with over 10,000 runners taking to Tokyo’s streets, running through some of the city’s most famous areas including Shinjuku, Asakusa and Ginza.

The course is mostly flat allowing runners to enjoy the blend of the old and new architecture, from neon skyscrapers to Buddhist temples.

Experience the fascinating fusion of past and present in Tokyo with Wendy Wu Tours’ 13-day ‘Trails of Japan’ tour from £5,490pp, which also includes a visit to a traditional sumo wrestling match, the one-of-kind Robot Restaurant and Japanese drumming Taiko class.

For more information and to book visit or call 0800 902 0888

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