THE RUNNING ITINERARY

Fitness journalist DANAE MERCER rounds up her bucket-list runs 健康資訊記者Danae Mercer推介她至愛的跑步賽事

Discovery - - CONTENTS -

DANAE MERCER picks the epic marathons that will get you in shape this year

THIS MONTH, YOU can run a marathon in Hong Kong, Osaka, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Dubai or Xiamen. And that’s just in Asia.

For travellers, there is an ever-growing number of epic races around the world – not just marathons, but ultra-marathons, vertical climbs, 10Ks and some very strange races indeed. In Berlin, you can jog past historic memorials; in Paris, you run under the Arc de Triomphe; while in Wales, you run against a horse. Le Marathon de Médoc runners get to taste 23 wines along the way.

Here are a selection of running challenges worth flying for.

RED BULL 400 WHEN: MAY-OCTOBER WHERE: WORLDWIDE

The vicious 17-race series is often called the ‘toughest 400-metre race in the world’. You run up ski jumps used for Winter Olympics in Courchevel and Sochi, trudge through a 35- degree incline in Whistler, or surrender to climbing on all fours on courses from Turkey to Japan with dozens of other competitors. redbull400.com

MARATHON DES SABLES WHEN: 5-15 APRIL 2019 WHERE: SAHARA DESERT

Six days, six marathons and endless sun – such are the conditions of the Marathon des Sables, an ultra-marathon across the Sahara desert. Around 1,000 runners brave 251 kilometres while carrying food and supplies. Terrain spans sand dunes, salt flats and stony desert tracks. By the end, you can expect heavily bandaged feet. Race organisers advise wearing roomy shoes. marathondessables.com

GREAT WALL MARATHON WHEN: 18 MAY 2019 WHERE: NORTHERN CHINA

Small goat trails, uneven paths, relentless stairs and brutal hills all make China’s Great Wall Marathon incredibly difficult. Yet the allure of jogging over the manmade wonder and into smaller villages entices some 2,500 runners every year. Temperatures are high, but the 5,164 steps will take you higher. great-wall-marathon.com

BARKLEY MARATHON WHEN: LATE MARCH TO EARLY APRIL WHERE: FROZEN HEAD STATE PARK, TENNESSEE

There were no finishers in the notoriously difficult Barkley Marathon in 2018. This gruelling 160-kilometre course (also available is a 97-kilometre ‘fun run’) involves a punishing total ascent of nearly 18 kilometres. The race is run in five consecutive loops – each must be finished in under 12 hours. Still tempted? Good luck getting one of the 40 slots. You’ll need to write an essay on why you should run the marathon, submit US$1.60 (HK$12.5) and hope to become what race organisers call ‘one of the unfortunate few chosen’. barkleymarathons.com

ANGKOR WAT INTERNATIONAL HALF MARATHON WHEN: DECEMBER 2019 WHERE: SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

Runners follow dirt paths around numerous temples before ending up outside the Unesco World Heritage site of Angkor Wat. There are also ten- and three-kilometre races. Proceeds go to children’s hospitals and victims of landmines, while special race categories also accommodate athletes in wheelchairs or those with artificial limbs. cambodia-events.org/angkor-half-marathon

NORTH POLE MARATHON WHEN: 9 APRIL 2019 WHERE: NORTH POLE

This cool race requires flying into Svalbard, Norway, then travelling to the North Pole camp on arctic ice floes. Next come 10 laps of a 4.2-kilometre loop in sub-zero temperatures. Hypothermia, frostbite and even polar bears are all real risks, and runners often nip into a heated tent between laps to recover from the harsh conditions. There’s one extra harsh condition – the fee of 16,000 euros (HK$143,000). npmarathon.com

在本月,如你參馬果 想 加 拉松賽事,可以選擇在香港、、大阪 吉隆坡、台北、杜拜或廈門參賽。以上列舉的,不過是洲行亞 舉 的賽事。

世界各地的大型賽事與日俱增,吸引不少旅客特地前往參加,除了馬拉松以外,還有超級馬拉松、垂跑直 、十公里賽事,以及不少稀奇古怪的賽事。在柏林,你可經跑多個極具歷史意義的地點;至在於 巴黎,你可穿旋過凱 門勇往直前;在威爾斯,你可以跟馬匹一較高下;而在法波國 爾多Médoc酒區馬拉松,跑手可邊跑邊品嚐23間酒莊的佳釀。

以下是一些值得專誠飛往當地參與的跑步。賽事

紅牛400

日期: 5月至10月

地點:世界各地

這項由17場激烈比賽組成的賽事,有「世上最艱辛的400米賽之跑」 稱。參加者須跑上法國滑雪勝地Courchevel和俄羅斯索契冬季奧運會跳台滑雪項目使用的滑道;或者舉步維地艱 攀上加拿大威斯勒呈35度角的斜,坡 甚至乾脆手腳並用,挑戰土耳其以至日本的陡峭賽道。redbull400.com

撒哈拉沙漠馬拉松

日期: 2019年月至4 5 15日

地點:撒哈拉沙漠

六日六夜、傳六段馬統 拉松賽程,加上無止盡的烈日——這就是撒哈拉沙漠馬拉松了。這項超馬級 拉松賽事的賽道橫哈跨撒 拉沙漠,約1,000名跑手穿越沙、丘 鹽沼和石灘等地帶,勇闖全長251公里的路線之餘,同時需要攜帶食物。來到賽事後段,你的雙腳必定纏滿紗布或貼滿藥水膠布,因此主辦單亦位 建議跑手穿著寬鬆的跑鞋。marathondessables.com

長城馬拉松

日期: 2019年月5 18日

地點:中國北部

狹窄的羊腸小徑、崎嶇不平的路面、沒完沒了的梯級和陡峭的山坡,令中國的長城馬拉松無比艱辛。然而,在這個偉大的建築奇蹟上跑步以及踏足鄉郊小村,落 已是這項賽事極具吸引力的特色,每因此 年都有約2,500名跑手不畏艱苦,前參來 賽。賽事進行期間氣溫甚高,沿途的5,164級石階不單令你汗如雨下,更而且令你登高望遠,飽覽附少的美。景great-wall-marathon.com

巴克利馬拉松

日期: 3月下旬至4月上旬

地點:美國田納西州Frozen Head State Park州立公園

巴克利馬拉松以過程極其艱辛而聞名,2018年甚至沒有跑手能夠跑畢全程。這項使人筋竭疲力 的賽事全長160公里(另有全程97公里的「輕鬆跑」供人選擇) ,途中有接少18公里是常異 艱辛的上坡路段參。賽跑手必須於賽道上連續跑五圈,每而 圈必須於12小時內完成。看到這樣的比賽條件依然躍躍欲試的話,還需要一點運氣才能功賽成 參 ,因為賽事只有40個額名你。需要提交一篇文章,說明為何你應當入選,並交繳 1.6美元( 12.5港元)報名費,然後就看你是否夠運成為主單辦 位形容為「不幸中選」的其中一人了。barkleymarathons.com

吳哥窟國際半程馬拉松

日期: 2019年月12

地點:柬埔寨暹粒

跑手沿著環繞多寺座 廟的泥路而跑,最抵後達聯名列 合國教科文組織世界遺產的吳哥窟古蹟外面。除馬了半 拉松,比賽亦設有十公里和三公里項。目 賽事收將益 撥捐兒童醫院和援助地雷受害者;此外還設有坐可供 輪椅或裝配義肢的選參手 加的特殊賽事。cambodia-events.org/angkor-halfmarathon

北極馬拉松

日期: 2019年月4 9日

地點:北極

這可說是一項透心涼的賽事,跑手需要飛往挪威的斯瓦爾巴,然後前往位於極地浮冰上的北極營,地 在攝氏零度以下的嚴寒氣溫裡,完成十圈共42公里的賽事。跑手極有可能患低上 溫症、生凍瘡甚至碰上北極熊,他們也往往會於兩圈賽事之間進躲設有暖氣的帳稍篷裡 歇,暫避惡劣的天氣,並讓體力回參復。 賽還有另一個嚴苛條的件,就是參加者需付16,000歐元( 143,000港元)比賽費用。npmarathon.com

Best foot forward Clockwise from left: Red Bull 400; Marathon des Sables; Great Wall Marathon; North Pole Marathon 邁步向前 最圖左 起順時針:紅牛400;撒哈拉沙漠馬拉松;長拉城馬 松;北極馬拉松

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