Not running the London Marathon? Try one of the other 22 most popular marathons in the world

Which marathon is on your bucket list? Picture: Shutterstock.
Which marathon is on your bucket list? Picture: Shutterstock.

With the London Marathon coming up this weekend, new research has found the world’s other most-run marathons, how much it costs to run them, and what they offer, both on the course and off it.

When you run in a marathon, knowing that you’ll get a medal is a must for many, but how likely is it you’ll even get a place?

Do you have to join a ballot to get a ticket? Do you need to have run a marathon previously? And most importantly, do you get a free T-shirt for participating?

In a new graphic from, you can find answers to all these questions – and more, including the distance climbed, local hotel costs, and how you can enter the race.

Mega Marathons

No matter what kind of runner you are, there’s a marathon for you.

If you’re struggling to choose one – or looking for an alternative – see which ones are popular with other runners by having a look at some of the runs with the highest number of participants below:

New York City Marathon – The New York City Marathon had a massive 51,388 runners in 2016, despite the majority being entered into a ballot upon applying.

Ottawa Race Weekend – A big event also including smaller runs for those not looking for a full marathon, this is Canada’s best foot-race offering. And if you want to help your chosen charity, you can fund-raise through the event (and skip the entry fee at the same time).

Athens Classic Marathon – In many senses, the longest-running marathon in the world (since the original Marathon was during the Athenian-Persian Battle of Marathon), the Athens Classic is still one of the world’s most popular. It also has one of the lowest entry costs, at only about £56.

Paris Marathon – The Paris Marathon has conditional entry based on your health, so make sure you’re in top condition before applying to run this one.

Chicago Marathon – Taking place in October, the Chicago Marathon had 40,608 runners in 2016. It also has a free T-shirt on offer for all participants (there’s also a 42% chance of rain on the day, which could be refreshing on the run, or a nightmare – your call).

Joe Gardiner,’s Head of Brand and Communications, said: "A marathon can be a challenge to yourself, or a great way to raise money for charity, or even just for fun.

"We wanted to show what options were available, and provide a way to make it easier to get down to the important part – the running.”