Running as part of a vacation has seen strong growth in recent years, for building or maintaining physical fitness, as well as for competition. Individuals wanting to complete marathons in different cities, states, or countries can do so with the numerous marathons offered all over the world. Companies such as Marathon Tours and Travel operates tours that take traveling marathoners around the globe.
Marathons are not the only option for running on a vacation - both endurance races and shorter distance runs are also possible. Run the World [dead link] operates interesting culture/running tours to international destinations, and allows a traveller to run, but still soak in a large part of culture, which is often missed on a marathon trip.
The Hash House Harriers are a running club that originated among expats in South-East Asia but has since spread widely, with well over a thousand groups in many countries. They do a weekly hare-and-hounds run, followed by a gathering at a local eatery. There are frequent regional gatherings called "interhashes".
Guided running tours are a new category of adventure travel. Experienced runners take clients on great routes and allow them to maintain a running routine while traveling on business or pleasure. They are known as "running tours", "city running" or "sightrunning". Generally, we can distinguish two kinds of running tours. Scheduled tours are such events that take place with fixed time, itinerary and meeting points; more than one participant usually takes part. There are also customized / private / personalized tours which only realize once a travelling runner books them. Some providers operate both kinds, especially the established or bigger ones; some specialize only on customized tours.
Internationally, there are nearly 200 Running Tour organizations. Most of them operate independently. The Global Running Tours successor, Go Running Tours networks dozens of sightrunning providers on four continents. With roots in Barcelona's Running Tours Barcelona and Copenhagen's Running Copenhagen, it was quickly joined by Running Tours Prague based in Prague and others. It focuses on bringing quality standards into the mushrooming running tours field of activities with quite a few requirements (insurance, top customer rating etc.) for a provider to fulfill before they are invited onto the board. In Spain, 360 Running Barcelona organizes sightseeing and running tours. In The Netherlands, you can find running tour organisations in a.o. Amsterdam, Nijmegen, on the National Parc the Veluwe, Rotterdam with Rotterdam Sight running Tours and in Maastricht Maastricht Running Tours
Here are some of the best places in the world for travellers to run - that is, routes that lend themselves to both sightseeing and a good jog:
- Vancouver - a gentle 8km loop around Stanley Park will take you around downtown Vancouver's coastal rain forest, totem poles and the best views of the Coastal Mountains rising out of the sea. For some extra distance, continue down the sea wall around False Creek and into Granville Island. FitCity Tours & Travel offers a guided tour from the West End, into Stanley Park and around Coal Harbour. Lead by local guides these tours are a great way to learn a bit about the city and get some tips about where to go for dinner or what other cool things you should check out while you are in town.
- Singapore - the pedestrian friendly pathways will take you past most of Singapore's most famous landmarks including the Merlion, Clarke Quay and the Singapore River.
- United States - the Boston, New York and Chicago marathons are three of the largest in the country. Not surprisingly, Honolulu is a top marathon destination of choice as well, due to Hawaii's travel appeal.
- Ottawa - enjoys a lovely greenbelt that traces over the city. Of particular interest is the river valley and Rideau Canal where a 10km loop will take you past such national landmarks as the Supreme Court, the Parliament Buildings, the landmark hotel Chateau Laurier, down the Rideau Canal, loop back across the canal on the heritage Pretoria Lift bridge, past the National Gallery of Canada and over the Ottawa River into Hull, Quebec, where you'll run along the river past the Museum of Civilization and finally cross back into Ottawa past the War Museum.
- Prague - there are few great places for running, like Stromovka park, Letná or along the bank of the river Vltava. If you would like to see more of the city or run longer distance Running Prague provides guided running tours through city.