From an easy pace city break and a relaxing river cruise to hiking the frozen Lake Baikal and kayaking in Kamchatka – Russia is perfect for every type of tourist. If you are a keen runner and like to mix sport and leisure, attending a running race in Russia is a perfect answer. Some of the toughest terrains you can experience can be found in the Russian countryside. And you can stop by Moscow to walk on the Red Square as well!
From half marathon to Ultra, there is something for every runner’s level. The Moscow city centre, St Petersburg International or the Siberian Winter Marathon... which one will you chose?
Siberian International Marathon, 3 August 2019, Omsk
Siberian International Marathon (SIM) is an official competition held in the city of Omsk since 1990. It’s one of the largest sport and cultural events in Russia, attracting thousands of participants. It takes place during the week of St. Ilya's Day, the patron saint of Omsk, in early August. Distances to chose from: 42km, Half Marathon, 10k and 3k for the leisure runners.
How to get there: you can fly to Omsk on Aeroflot from London with a change in Moscow (make sure to stay in Moscow for a few days though!). Or make it a Trans-Siberian adventure by travelling on a train (Moscow to Omsk: 2 nights on the train)
Moscow Marathon, 22 September 2019
If you are good enough runner you still have time to register! The Moscow Marathon is a perfect race for many reasons: the race is run over a very flat and fast course (personal best anyone?) and it is the most picturesque of them all (sorry, we may not be very objective here!) steeped with Russian history and tradition. You can choose between 42.2 km and 10 km distances and see central streets of Moscow as it can be seen once a year only. Over the course of the race, participants will be able to see more than 30 world-famous attractions, including the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow City, and four of the Seven Sisters skyscrapers. The Promsvyazbank Moscow Marathon route offers a spectacular tour of Russia’s capital, from the embankment of the Moskva River by Moscow City, to the Garden Ring, across Krymsky Bridge, along the Boulevard Ring and on Tverskaya Street, through Teatralny Passage and under the walls of the Kremlin before finally reaching the finish line at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex.
It must be the ultimate Moscow City tour!
How to get there: there are plenty of options for you out there. The easiest and most obvious will be direct British Airways or Aeroflot flight from London. And from October 2019, you can also fly on budget with WizzAir Airline! But you can also travel by train from Paris to Moscow or any other European city.
Galaxy Vladivostok Marathon, 28 September 2019
About 3500 athletes from 18 countries took part in the Galaxy race in 2018! Get a chance to see the beautiful city of Vladivostok: you’ll pass across the scenic road across Russky Island and bridges: the "Russian" and the "Gold" with the finish on the Central square of the city. The distances of 5, 21 and 42 km are available for participants, and also there is 1 km race for children.
How to get there: You can easily travel by air via Moscow (with the obligatory stopover in the capital) or, if you’ve got time, jump on the Trans Siberian railway for a 1 week trip on the train.
White Nights Marathon, St Petersburg, 28 June 2020
If you are planning your races and holidays for 2020, make sure to get to St Petersburg for 28 June 2020. As with Moscow Marathon, this is another unique race that will lead you across the streets of Venice of the North: the historic centre of St. Petersburg, among the world famous monuments of history and architecture along the picturesque embankments of the Neva, the Fontanka Embankment, Krestovsky island and Nevsky prospect. You can run a classic 10k (for runner over 15 years old) or the marathon distance (you must be over 20 years old to enter). Join the international event with runners from Germany, France, UK, Canada, USA, Greece, Brazil, Japan, Morocco, Kenya and dozens of other countries.
How to get there: you can fly direct from London with Aeroflot or WizzAir. The Lenigrad region will also introduce e-visa for some nationalities from October 2019 so you may be able to get a quick e-visa for your race. If you really would like to avoid visa altogether, hop on the Princess Anastasia ferry from Helsinki and you can stay for 72h visa free!
Kazan Marathon, May 2020
Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, the city with a thousand-year history that lies on the shores of the Volga River. It is one of the major economic, political, scientific, educational, sport and cultural centres of Russia, which bears the name of the Third Capital of Russia. In May 2019, the race was dedicated to the prevention of AIDS and every year the runners run for a different good cause. Apart from the marathon distance of 42.2 km, you can run a half-marathon, 10 km and a fun-run of 3 km.
How to get there: You can fly from London to Kazan with a change in Moscow, or take a leisurely pace by travelling from Moscow overnight by train.
Desert Steppes Elton Ultra Trail, Volgograd, usually in June
Are you brave enough to run the most severe race in Russia? They say limits exist only in our minds but to be able to conquer the Elton Ultra Trail, you’ll have to wipe your mind clean! Alone for very long time, face to face with an arid desert, running alongside the Elton lake and not being able to quench your thirst: Elton is a salt lake and the largest mineral lake in Europe, one of the most mineralized in the world.
Ultimate distance: 160.93km, Master: 38km
How to get there: You can fly from London to Volgograd with a change in Moscow, or take a leisurely pace by travelling from Moscow overnight by train.
Baikal Ice Marathon, 1 March 2020
Cross the frozen waters of the deepest and biotically richest fresh water lake on the planet! The Marathon is a part of a larger Lake Baikal winter games festival, the “Winteriad”, which includes also “Baikal Kamchatka” Ice Fishing and Baikal Ice Golf Tournaments Ice Skating Races and a few other outdoor adventure events. Baikal Ice Marathon is psychologically and physically demanding; the alien featureless landscape gives little or no sense of perspective, offering nothing to focus on. It is a cold, lonely and long 42.2 km trail across the vast white landscape with checkpoints positioned at 5 km intervals. The race record is 2h53min26sec. Can you beat it?
How to get there: there are many flights to Irkutsk via Moscow but you can make it a Trans-Siberian adventure by hopping on the train for a 4 nights journey.
Ice Onego Marathon, Petrozavodsk, March 2020
If winter marathon is your thing but getting to the Baikal lake seems a bit much, why not trying the Lake Onega Ice marathon. Petrozavodsk is the capital of the Republic of Karelia, which stretches along the western shore of Lake Onega, the 2nd biggest lake in Europe. The race is usually held in March and depends on the weather (it must be cold!)
How to get there: you can take a train from St Petersburg to Petrozavodsk. There are 5 departures daily and the journey time takes between 5h and 7h, depending on the train.