About 5 years ago, I decided to try this crazy thing called running. I was stuck in a fitness rut and was looking for a change. So I challenged myself to train for a half marathon. Now 5 years, a full marathon, and 30+ half marathons later, I am still running. Needless to say, I fell in love with this sport. After a rough day at the office, I can just throw on my shoes run for miles and miles. It was therapy. Some people paint; some people race cars. I run. I’ve been through at least 2 dozen pairs of running shoes and have lost a number of toe nails. Once one race is done, it is on to the next race. It is the perfect hobby for my little fitness soul.
My husband also developed an addiction for running. At first, we would participate in local race events around Northern Utah. Soon, we found ourselves at start lines for races all across the United States. We have crossed the finish line in places like San Francisco, Portland, Lake Tahoe, Miami, Las Vegas, New York, and Phoenix. We use running as an excuse to travel the country (and one day the world). In fact, my husband was recently accepted into the New York City Marathon in November. We have our request in for an International Vacation Home Exchange for what will likely be a fun trip to the Big Apple in the fall.
We aren’t the only ones who use running as an excuse to travel. In fact, cities around the globe will spend money to host big running events. They will also strategically create race courses that will give runners a unique experience. New York, for example, will shut down streets in downtown, just so runners can inhale intoxicating sights of the city. San Francisco’s marathon will take runners across the Golden Gate bridge. When I ran the Las Vegas half, the entire strip was shut down to vehicle traffic. I got to run the Las Vegas Strip at night. It was an amazing, amazing experience (and highly recommended).
Here’s a look at my current race bucket list:
1) Paris Marathon
2) London Marathon
3) Tokyo Marathon
4) Honolulu Marathon
5) Walt Disney World Marathon
6) Great Wall Marathon (yes, you run along the Great Wall of China)
7) Big Five Marathon, South Africa (hopefully I won’t get attacked by a tiger)
8) Athens Marathon
9) Berlin Marathon
10) Niagara Falls Marathon
Don’t run marathons? No problem. Many of these events also have a half marathon and 5K available.
Now, I should mention that traveling to run a race does take a little planning. First, you want to make sure that you arrive a day or two before race day. One reason is because you want to be sure you get your race packet. More importantly, you want to make sure your body is acclimated to the time change and altitude. Altitude sickness can sideline even the most seasoned runners, so plan accordingly. On those same lines, if you are running a full marathon, experts do caution that you probably shouldn’t fly home the next day, especially if you are flying internationally. You want to give your body at least a day or two to recover. If you have questions, just talk to your doctor.
If running isn’t your thing, no worries. There are other hobbies that can take you places all around the globe. And I can guarantee there are home exchanges in these places. Just talk to an International Vacation Home Exchange coordinator. And as always, safe travels.