Sometimes the best way to explore a city is done with your own two feet. There are exceptions though, most notably if those same feet are carrying a body riddled with cramps and shin splints from trudging along the kilometres of pavement in order to cross the finish line of a marathon.
Marathon running may not seem like the best way to travel the world but given the number of international races spread across the globe, some of the best marathon runners are also regular world travellers. But that's partly dependent on a runner's skill, if they can raise enough money and pay for travel accommodations.
And according to the Vancouver Sun, with some runners paying up to $2,500 for travel packages just to arrive at the race destination, it's not difficult to imagine the outrage of runners if they weren't able to participate, or in the case of the New York City Marathon, if an entire marathon was cancelled.
Last Friday, New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg cancelled the event due to the rising public outcry over the marathon's timing. Many voiced that the event was too soon given that much of the city were still recovering from the damage that Superstorm Sandy had inflicted earlier last week, reports the CBC.
While, many runners were crestfallen with the decision, not just because of the money squandered on accommodations but because many had come with the hopes of raising money for charity (not to mention the wasted hours of training that went into preparation for the event), some marathoners say the call was understandable.
Despite the cancellation, that didn't stop some marathoners from squeezing in a few laps around Central Park last Sunday, while those who found themselves in New York City but unable to run decided to help out with relieve efforts.
Aside from being a gold label race (consider a top-level race in terms of quality and organization) as well as one of races included in the World Marathon Majors, the New York City Marathon offers runner a chance to take in the city's diversity by running through New York's five boroughs, one of the race's unique perks.
So, while marathon hopefuls will have to wait till 2013 for their next opportunity to participate in the massive race, there are alternatives marathons for runners to compete in, each with their own particular charms that capture the beauty of the host cities.
For a list of these destinations, check out the slideshow below.
Set in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Twin Cities Marathon is often nicknamed the "The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America". This is due in part to the abundance of fall foliage runners can take in as they make their way through the 25-mile course.
Germany's capital is also the capital of the marathon world. With 40, 000 runners attending the 2012 run, this turnout makes the race the biggest marathon in the world.
Located in the capital city of the Netherlands, this marathon spans just over 42 km (roughly 26 miles) and stretches along the city's canals, ending at the Olympic Stadium.
Regarded as one of the most popular marathons in Europe, the Paris Marathon features a route dotted with popular tourist attractions like the Louvre, the many shops on Avenue des Champs-Élysées and the Seine River.
One of the highlights of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon is the view of the Ma Wan Channel runners can take in as they cross the Tsing Ma Bridge.
Runners looking to take in the most of London's landmarks won't be disappointed with this course's offerings. Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, along with the River Thames are just some of the sights runners will get to see during the 42 km course.
The Mongolians never conquered the Great Wall, but that doesn't mean runners can't try their luck. Runners will also get a great view of Beijing's outskirts whether they participate in the full, half or 5 km distances.