November 25, 2008 / 1:24 AM / 9 years ago

FACTBOX: Ten unusual marathons

(Reuters) - As marathons proliferate, race organizers are working hard to come up with marketing schemes that will set their run apart and draw participants.

Some differentiate themselves with the entertainment along their 26.2 mile course, or giveaways to runners, while others rely on their course and location to draw runners.

Below is a list of ten quirky marathons:

MARATHON DU MEDOC (Medoc wine region, France)

This marathon passes 50 chateaux, features Bordeaux wine at the water stations along the route, and provides foie gras to runners in need of refueling.

LITTLE ROCK MARATHON (Little Rock, Arkansas)

This race features a “lipstick station” at Mile 26.1, so runners can freshen up before their finisher’s picture. The race also boasts the largest finisher’s medal, measuring 6.25 inches by 4.25 inches (10.6cm).

WALT DISNEY WORLD MARATHON (Orlando, Florida)

Half marathon and a full marathon on consecutive weekend days in early January. Runners who complete both get a special “Goofy Medal,” named for Disney’s famous canine.

FLYING PIG MARATHON (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Popular with first-time marathoners and those who may have said they would run a marathon “when pigs fly.” The title also honors the city’s hog butchering history.

NORTH POLE MARATHON (Norway)

Takes place deep in the Arctic Circle around the summer solstice, attracting about 40 runners. In 2007, the temperature was -4 F (-25 C). One year, runners donned snow shoes because of a storm.

COUNTRY MUSIC MARATHON (Nashville, Tennessee)

Some 50 country artists perform on 28 stages along the course. A post-race concert was headlined last year by Steve Cropper, a founding member of soul band Booker T. & the MG‘s.

EVEREST MARATHON (Nepal)

At 17,000 feet, it is the highest marathon, taking runners along mountain trails starting at Everest Base Camp.

ATHENS MARATHON (Greece)

Retraces the steps of the messenger Pheidippides, who ran from Marathon to Athens in 490 B.C. to deliver news of the defeat of Persian invaders.

GREAT WALL MARATHON (China)

This race starts with a 3.1-mile uphill stretch, includes part of the Great Wall, and takes runners through villages and rice fields.

SAFARICOM MARATHON (Kenya)

Two 13.1 mile (20.1 kilometer) loops of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy game reserve.

Compiled by Phil Wahba in New York and Ben Klayman in Chicago

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