12 Amazing Races to Run Before You Die

These globe-spanning jet-worthy races should help round out your running bucket list

As we've said before, if you’re ready to jet-set to a destination marathon, it should be for one of two reasons (or both!): 1) A kick-ass, top-notch course unlike any other; 2) A locale you’d want to visit no matter what.[slideshow:674]

Plenty of people will tell you that traveling to race is a bad idea. Racing puts your body through enough stress without subjecting it to the risks of poor circulation on long flights, potential jet-lagging, unfamiliar foods and, of course, the tiresome traipsing of the curious traveler.

Click here to see the Amazing Races to Run Before You Die slideshow.

But these races aren’t about setting personal bests, or quick recovery. They’re about discovering anew the joy of running in races that are at once foreign and spectacular and…well, surprisingly familiar. Instead of being surrounded by strangers, you’re suddenly among distant members of the same tribe, talking about the course and excitedly waiting for the start gun to fire. And when the race is wrapped, there's plenty of trip left to sample the local culture and take in the sights.

What’s more, with these 12 races, there’s no need to choose between an amazing, one-of-a-kind course and a beautiful destination that you’d visit anyway, race or no race. With the help of serial marathoners and running experts, we found challenges on (nearly) every continent for every type of runner—from the casual Fun Run racer to the ultramarathon vet. You can run with the rhinos in a Kenyan safari park, sip iceberg-cooled waters along a marathon course in the Canadian Arctic or slip through the hidden back alleys of Florence, Italy. So go ahead, try to click through these races without lacing up your training shoes and adding a race (and place) to your bucket list. We dare you.

Click here to see the Amazing Races to Run Before You Die slideshow.