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I remember the first time I went abroad to run a race, it was the Paris 20K about 8 years ago and I was going with a bunch of ladies I’d only met a few months prior at a bootcamp we were all at. Turned out one of the ladies Kim, despite being an Aussie, lived in Paris with her family.

It was incredible.

FFParisNot just the race, but the whole thing. Getting to see a new city from a completely different perspective (I’d been to Paris before, but this felt different), getting to hang out with friends and of course  you get to achieve something incredible while you are there too.

So ever since then, I’ve been hooked.

I have run 3 european half marathons (Lisbon, Berlin & Geneva) since then and have two more in the diary for this year.

So in case you are thinking this might be something you fancy doing, here are my top 5 reasons for signing up to a race abroad…with some help from some of my favourite female bloggers…

1. It can really help with accountability

When you sign up for a race that is close to home there is always a chance that you might pull out, you know if you don’t do the training or it clashes with something else, but when you sign up to one abroad it seems somehow more important and the costs involved might make you think twice about backing out.

Races don’t have to be super expensive though as Mara from The Fit Londoner explains,

I have run Hamburg and Verona Marathons – they were cheaper than a lot of UK city marathons yet still very, very good value for money.

2. You get a mini holiday too

I don’t know about you but I jump at the chance of going anywhere I have never been before, running a race is a great excuse to see more of the world….and you can do it completely by yourself.

Charlie from Runner Beans says

For me it’s a great excuse for traveling, experiencing a new culture and earning a medal! I think the best thing about it being a half marathon over full marathon is that it doesn’t dictate your entire trip but it’s still a great challenge!

3. Great way to visit friends

A few years back I went to Lisbon to visit an old friend and run a half marathon with her. She put me up and the flights and race entry were super cheap, I think the whole weekend cost less than £150

PT Mollie says,

I have run races in New Zealand, Scotland, Germany, South Africa, and USA. It is a good way to reunite with friends who live far away and also tighten bonds with new friends

4. An excuse to taste the local cuisine

You have to think about food when preparing for a big race like this, so travelling abroad for a race gives you a brilliant excuse to try new types of fuel…perhaps wait until after the race to try something too exotic

Charlotte from Lunges & Lyrca agrees, and says..

I’ve run Paris, Amsterdam, Jerusalem and Prague half marathons…a lot of European races have fruit etc at the water stations. You’re also generally hungry afterwards too so you can hoover up even more of the tasty food!

5. You get to represent your endz and/or your running club or tribe

IMG_7484Most races have a representation of other nations taking part even if just for the elites, and I love when you see people with flags or messages stating where they are from on their shirts. I think for me being able to wear a Too Fat to Run? vest at an international race gives me the opportunity to promote plus size fitness, and perhaps even challenge perceptions along the way. Sometimes the message is lost in translation a bit…but I have always had a lot of support from the crowd no matter where I run.

So what you waiting for?

It can at first seem like a scary prospect to travel abroad for a race, especially doing it by yourself which I have done a few times too, but there are lots of companies now that will do all the organisation for you, or you could get a team of friends to choose a location that excites them and get planning for an adventure now.

Next week I will be travelling to Israel to take part in the Jerusalem Half Marathon. I am so excited as I have never been to this part of the world before and the race route looks EPIC!! I have however heard the route is quite hilly and I dare say the temperature will be a little warmer than London, but that just adds to the challenge right?

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Keep your eyes peeled for some live video updates on my Facebook Page that weekend, and of course a full review of the race and the rest of what Jerusalem and Israel have to offer too.

Check out more details about the Jerusalem Marathon Festival here, there are 10K, half marathon and full marathon options 

Seriously guys, running really does takes you places, as long as you have the courage and sense of adventure to let it

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