As part of our #ReasonToTravel social media campaign, we jogged through our most memorable travel moments and realized many of those unforgettable travel experiences come through participating in some event or another. Marathons in particular can be great excuses to get up and go to a new city or destination. As the Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series kicks off this weekend in Seattle with runners competing in 8Ks, half marathons and full marathons, we couldn’t help but recognize that the heart and “sole” of travel can often be linked to participating in a marathon. Not convinced just yet to pick up your running shoes and go? Here are a few reasons why you might want to travel for a marathon.

Explore a New Destination On Foot

Marathons like the Rock’n’Roll Marathon series explore countless global destinations. What began in 1998 in San Diego, California, now includes 30 cities each year from Las Vegas to Madrid. The courses are also often scenic – going right through the heart of a city. Runners usually get to pound the pavement on a route you wouldn’t normally be able to run along. Participating in a marathon offers a unique viewpoint of a city or destination you seldom can find if you just visited on your own. In addition to the marathon, you can also spend time leading up to and after the race exploring a new city.

The Entertainment

Many marathons across the world have added events beyond the race to entertain runners, especially in the case of the Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series. Live, local bands are sprinkled along the course so that runners can appreciate new music as they accomplish their goals. Not only can you hear local music that you won’t find back home, but also marathons like the Rock’n’Roll series have famous headliners that aren’t too bad themselves. Previous races have had big names like Train, Brad Paisley and the Goo Goo Dolls rocking out when you cross the finish line. These mini concerts as you run lend, not just a marathon vibe, but also a festival atmosphere that makes running all the more enjoyable.

Self Empowerment

We often travel to experience a new place or culture, but also to see a change in ourselves. Marathons lend the opportunity for you to travel and also meet a personal goal no matter how far you go. You can run as little or as much as you desire, accomplishing your own goals long the way. Competing in a marathon somewhere new gives a feeling of self-empowerment that you accomplished a personal goal while surrounded by a sense of community. No matter why you are running, you’ll always have that moment that you achieved something you set out to do when you cross the finish line.

Do Good As You Run

The backbone of many marathons is charity. If you have always wanted to volunteer or do some good as you travel, a marathon can provide a great outlet to contribute to charity. The Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series allows runners to pick a charity to fundraise for and to set a goal at registration. Every step you take can help out a good cause. In 2016 alone, the marathon series has spanned 17 cities, 450,000 runners and raised $10 million dollars toward charity.

Experience Slow Travel

Marathons aren’t usually just about the race. Many host events leading up to and post race so that you can mingle with other runners from all around the world and also experience your destination’s culture at an (ironically) slower pace. In addition to VIP packages with added perks like extra gear giveaways and food, you usually have to arrive a few days before a marathon to get used to a new time zone and avoid travel delays. The extra time allows you to slow down life a bit and wander a new place.

Post race, you’ll also have a good excuse to discover the bars, restaurants and venues of your destination, many of which cater to runners around marathon events. Marathons, especially post race, invite you to partake in a slow travel style, rather than checking items off a sightseeing list at a frantic pace.

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wisely and simply explained, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” For runners, achieving the goal of participating in a marathon often begins with that single step. Jogging through a new city with a group of people from all around the world lends an empowering journey you wouldn’t have if you just stayed home. Talk about a #ReasonToTravel!

Have you traveled for a marathon before? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

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About The Author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at http://suzyguese.com.