Considered one of the most beautiful runs on the planet, the Rio Marathon is 42 km (26 miles) of picturesque neighborhoods and white sandy shores set against the imposing Serra do Mar Mountains. The event is quite popular with the residents of Rio de Janeiro. Over 100,000 people come out to watch the race and cheer the runners on to victory.
The Big Race
There are several different races run during marathon day. The big 42 km (26 miles) race begins in Receiro and passes through the stylish neighborhoods of Leblon, Ipanema, Copacabana and Botafogo. The race ends in Flamengo.The run offers pleasant views of Sugarloaf, Corcovado and beaches in the south Zone. The night before the marathon, sponsors hold a carbohydrate dinner so runners can dine on pasta, rice and potatoes to prepare their bodies for the big run.
The Half Marathon
The half marathon is a 21km (13 miles) point to point race. Warm up and stretching is allowed for 15 minutes before the race begins. The start of the race is at Pepe Beach –Barra da Tijuca and ends at Aterro do Flamengo. Transportation is provided to the start of the race.
Special Category Marathons
Rio de Janeiro also has marathons for individuals with special needs. There is a marathon for individuals in wheelchairs. There is also a marathon for those who are visually impaired. They will run with a running guide who does not compete in any category. There is also the lower member marathon for individuals who have difficulty running or walking.
The family marathon is 6 km (3.6 miles) and is made for families with younger children. Parents are encouraged to run with their children to offer them encouragement. This is usually the most fun race to watch as the little ones are quite adorable. Everyone goes home a winner with a medal for all who finish the race.
There are aid stations and water stops set up throughout the courses. For the 42 km (26 miles) marathon there is cash and trophies awarded in several different categories. Cash awards are not given to winners of the half marathon or the family marathon but trophies are awarded in similar categories.
Whether you are there to cheer the runners on or plan on participating in the race itself, there is no better setting for such an event. The end of each race is a cause for celebration as the runners have truly accomplished an extraordinary feat.