On his journey through Greece from Marathon to Athens, the infamous Greek messenger (whose story later inspired the modern marathon) had no time for the scenic route; he had to run 25 miles to deliver news of a battle victory in 490 B.C. Lucky for him, the finish line was home to the glistening Acropolis and its grand temples, for which today’s travelers trek even greater lengths via planes, trains and automobiles to see.
Modern marathon runners can follow in his footsteps, opting to see the world in slightly longer 26.2-mile jaunts that are worthy of a bucket-list. Travel far enough, and you’ll find marathon routes lined with UNESCO World Heritage Sites atop unusual landscapes that look nothing like your high-school track. Tread steadily along sacred temples in Kyoto, warily alongside elephant herds in Kenya, and complete your next marathon like the Greek messenger himself: epically.
Keith Flanagan is a writer, eater and consummate traveler who loves the journey home to Brooklyn, NY, as much as the open road.