Some people like to test out their athletic prowess by running a marathon.
Some people go one step further by running marathons in Thailand. As if running 26.2 miles wasn’t enough of a crazy feat, running 26.2 miles in the heat and humidity of Southeast Asia is really something to write home about.
Thankfully, Thailand has more than enough running events to cater to those crazy enough to test their mettle on a marathon course, held in various places up and down the country, throughout the year.
Woe betide those running a marathon in April…
Here’s our pick of some of the best and most popular Thailand marathons.
Marathons in Thailand
These 18 races top our list as the most popular and exciting marathons in Thailand that offer a running experience of a lifetime.
As one of Thailand’s oldest running events, the Chombueng Marathon takes place each year in January at Muban Chombueng Rajabhat University. You can enter the full 42.195 km marathon, 21 km half marathon or 10 km mini marathon, and be in with the chance of winning a trophy sponsored by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Each runner who finishes within the time limit will be awarded medals and t-shirts.
It’s also worth noting that this event is known for its cool temperatures and amazing atmosphere.
Khon Kaen International Marathon
Runners from around the globe are invited by the Khon Kaen University Alumni Association to register for the Khon Kaen International Marathon that takes place every January. Starting from the Golden Jubilee Convention Hall, the route enables you to discover cultural attractions and multiple local landmarks including the mesmerizing Wat Nong Wang temple.
The event features a full 42.195 km marathon, 21.1 km half marathon and 11.55 km mini marathon. To cater for all ages and abilities, the organizers also welcome everyone to participate in the 4.5 km fun run.
Chiang Mai University Marathon
Considered as one of the top marathons in South East Asia, Chiang Mai University Marathon is a race in February that you do not want to miss. If you don’t think you’ve got the stamina to complete the 42.195 km full marathon, then you could enter the 21 km half marathon or 10.5 km mini marathon instead. That said, you also have the option of signing up for the 5 km fun run.
Cash prizes are up for grabs when you participate in the full marathon, as well as medals for each race you complete before the cut-off time. While running your way around Chiang Mai, you’ll get to soak up the traditional art, culture and historical sites that make this area of Thailand so unique.
Every year in mid-February, this event takes place to encourage people to pay attention to their health and promote a healthy lifestyle through exercise. Organizers of Surat Thani Marathon also aim to promote tourism and trade in the province, as well as raise funds for the Mercy Hospital’s Cancer Hospital Foundation and Cancer Surat Thani.
Starting from the Si Surat Bridge near Don Bird Town Hall, you can take part in either a 42.195 km run, 10.5 km run or 3.5 km run to suit your running ability. Up to 3000 runners can enter, so you can expect to find plenty of friendly faces and many local and international runners at the starting line.
Starting at around 8 am in the morning, and usually, in the second week of April, the Songkran Marathon Relay in Bangkok holds two popular events. You can choose to run 17 laps around Lumpini Park or enter as a relay team of 4 to cover the same 17 laps as the individual marathon runners.
If you decide to enter the relay race, the first runner must complete 3 laps, the second and third runners are to run 5, and the final team runner will race the last 4 laps. That means both individual and relay runners will sprint a total distance of 42 km. Both races start at the same time and you’re welcome to run at your own pace.
Hat Yai International Marathon
Last year in May, organizers of the Hat Yai International Marathon proudly hosted their 10th event. The race that always starts and finishes at the Jiranakorn Stadium has grown in popularity ever since its 1st edition in 2006. Whichever year you decide to enter, you’re guaranteed to run a course that takes you through some of the area’s most impressive landmarks.
From the 42.195 km full marathon and 21.1 km half marathon to the 10.5 km mini marathon and 4 km fun run, both Thai locals and foreign runners are welcome to join in the race day fun.
Laguna Phuket International Marathon
Welcoming more than 8,000 runners from every corner of the globe, Laguna Phuket International Marathon is the largest marathon in South East Asia. The races and activities are spread across two days on set dates in June and all distances are usually sell-out events.
The full marathon, half marathon, 10.5 km run, 5 km walk and run and 2km kids’ run start and finish at the beautiful Laguna Phuket. For the full marathon, all runners follow courses out of Laguna and head through local plantations and quaint villages. The whole 2-day event is a family orientated affair set up to support the Laguna Phuket Foundation.
You can choose to register online or on the spot for the full 42.195 marathon, half marathon, mini marathon or fun run in June, all of which start at the Sukhothai Historical Park. The route is exceptionally good, especially as it’s really scenic and includes lots of historical monuments and winding roads.
There is an unlimited amount of food and drinks available at the Sukhothai Historical Park, and plenty of water points as you run along the race course. You’ll also be awarded a medal and shirt on completion of the marathon.
With race dates usually set for July at Pattaya Beach Road, Pattaya Marathon offers you a cross-cultural race featuring thousands of locals and foreign runners. Whether you go for the 42 km main event or choose to run the half, quarter or micro marathon, each marathon backdrop is utterly sensational.
If you like running through highlands and scenic courses, then Pattaya Marathon is the experience for you. You’ll also get a chance to explore one of the most popular beach destinations in Thailand.
Marathon Gulf of Thailand Championship
Nakhon Si Thammarat
This event is held in July and offers runners a full marathon, as well as distances of 15 km and 3.5 km. Marathon Gulf of Thailand Championship takes place in Pak Phanang District in Nakhon Si Thammarat province.
Each category winner receives a medal and all runners get an exclusive event t-shirt. As well as soaking up the local sights and buzzing atmosphere, you’ll be able to experience what it’s like to run along the stunning coast of Gulf in Thailand.
The Chai Mongkol Marathon usually draws in a slightly smaller crowd than some of the others listed on our guide of the best marathons in South East Asia. That said, this wonderful event held in August is equally as thrilling. Wat Nuam Kanom is the race venue in the location of Samut Sakhon, Thailand.
Race distances include 42 km, 21 km and 10 km. There is usually a 30-minute delay in between each race to ensure everyone gets off to the best possible start.
Nakhon Si Thammarat
As the Khanom Marathon has only been going for a couple of years, it comes as no surprise that it now appears on every serious runner’s bucket list. The event takes place in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, a location well-known for its beautiful beaches and famous caves.
You have the option of entering races that offer distances of 42 km, 21 km, 10 km and 5 km. Race day is during September.
Race organizer, Tiger Balm invites runner to register for a 42 km marathon, 21 km half marathon and 10 km mini marathon in October. The event also hosts a 3.5 km fun run for both adults and children.
The Khao Yai Trail Marathon starts at Sameur Dao Khao Yai, Pak Chong in Khao Yai, Thailand, and you’re given 8 whole hours to finish the main event. Even though the course is mainly flat, this marathon covers plenty of terrains and features breath-taking tropical forest view as you run through the national park.
Whether you’re a newbie to running or a serious marathon junkie, you’re bound to love taking part in the Muang Thai Marathon. Registration is open to 7000 individuals looking to enter the 42 km full marathon, 21 km half marathon, 10 km mini marathon and the 5 km smile run.
The event is held every October and kicks off at Rama VIII Bridge in Bangkok. You also don’t have to worry about passing any moving vehicles, as the course is kept a 100% car-free zone.
When it comes to picturesque races, they don’t come any finer than the Chantaburi Scenic Marathon. Not only does this full marathon in November offer a beautiful race course along beaches, hills and lakes but it’s also quite challenging for amateur and experienced road runners alike.
As well as the full, half, mini and micro marathons, organizers of Chantaburi Scenic Marathon welcome both adults and kids to enter the walk and run event to encourage everyone to enjoy exercise and family activity.
The Ayutthaya Historical Park is the chosen race venue for the Ayutthaya Marathon that’s held every December. Race day comprises of a 42 km, 21 km and 10 km marathon, as well as a child-friendly fun run.
Each well-organized course enables you to take in a whole host of cultural sights, historical sculptures and ancient buildings. The event is open to runners of all ages and ability levels and attracts well over a thousand participants.
Out of all the marathons in Thailand, Phrae Marathon has to be the most unique. The December event actually starts in darkness at around 4 am and features illuminated roads with the help of little twinkling candle lights.
Each race starts at Phrae Provincial Administration Organisation Sports Stadium and distances include 42.195 km, 21.1 km, 10.5 km and 5.0 km. If you enter the main event, you’ll cross town for about 10 km and climb up around 500 meters of scenic foothills.
The backdrop of Muang Thai Chiangmai Marathon is the mountain Doi Suthep, meaning you’ll get a full swathe of beautiful natural scenery and historical landmarks as you run. You’ll also be pleased to learn that the race route is completely flat.
As the main event takes place in December, this marathon is the perfect way to end your personal running series. If you’re not brave enough to enter the big race, there’s also a 3 km, 10 km and half marathon on offer.
What are your favorite marathons in Thailand?