More than 500 marathons are held around the world every year, and many non-professional runners travel between these events as a form of “wellness tourism”. One of the most prestigious is the Boston Marathon, which takes place every April and was first held in 1897 – one year after the inaugural modern Olympic Games in Athens.

The Boston Marathon attracts 20,000 runners each year, and the cheering crowds are estimated at 500,000.

For the spectators, it is a spectacle of over 30,000 inspiring strides. For the runners, it is nothing short of an odyssey fuelled by physical prowess, tenacity and endorphins, and fraught with sore muscles.

Wellness tourism blossoms in Asia as resorts offer integrated health experiences and lifestyle coaching

Other major international marathons include the London Marathon, New York City Marathon, Tokyo Marathon, Medoc Marathon and Berlin Marathon.

While the Boston Marathon is mostly about winning a race, the Tokyo Marathon is a fun carnival that promotes entertainment, colour and food throughout the route. Runners are often torn between running for their best time or taking it easy to enjoy the festivities. It is so popular that more than 300,000 applicants vie for 30,000 places.

Runners of the New York marathon can add sparkle to their experience with a pendant from Tiffany & Co.’s TCS New York City Marathon collection. The silver piece features the official marathon logo and is engraved with the runner’s name.

Boot camp holidays now have a touch of luxury

The French, who have a reputation of enjoying life to the fullest, have the Medoc Marathon in which runners zigzag between 50 wineries to taste wines, cheese, oysters, foie gras, fruit, bread and steak. Outstanding runners are rewarded with wines equal to their own weight.