Top 10 List of Extreme Mountainous Uphill Marathons

What are the Top Mountainous Uphill Marathons

Top 10 Mountain Uphill Trail MarathonsHere are some of the most famous uphill marathons in the world. For some runners the 26.2 mile run is no challenge, they run every flat race they found, they may even tried some ultra-marathon events to add some mileage to their shoes.. But any runner will say, that any marathon which includes crossing mountains, peaks or running uphill and down hills on the other side is a totally different story.

Below you will find our top 10 uphill marathons which include steep elevation running or tough marathon uphill sections within the marathon. Those marathons don’t have to be the toughest marathon races in the world, but any runner will say running an uphill at the 21 mile mark, is tough enough to break even the toughest runners.

Because running those Extreme Mountainous Uphill Marathons requires mental preparation for uphill running. Up hill sections usually mean down hills running too.. For some this down hill running are a nightmare for the quads and knees.

Uphill Mountainous Marathon Running

In random order..

  1. Mount Lemmon Marathon (and half marathon) – With 6000+ ft elevation gain the Mount Lemmon Marathon uphill run is the toughest road marathon in the world and the only uphill marathon in the US.
  2. Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland – This uphill marathon elevates 2000m (6500 feet) during the race.
  3. Comrades, South Africa, Ultramarathon – The Comrades Marathon uphill route  is 89 km or 56 miles. The Kilimanjaro Marathon can be a qualified marathon in order to register to the Comrades.
  4. Big Sur International Marathon – With thirteen hills the last 13 miles of the course, it is one of the top uphill marathons in the USA (the elevation from the 9.8 mile till the 12 mile point was calculated as 4.47%!)
  5. Kilimanjaro Marathon (42.2km) and half marathon, Tanzania – The marathon is run beside Africa’s highest mountain and the highest “free standing” mountain in the world. There are mild graduate uphill and ascending down hill throughout the route.
  6. Athens Classic Marathon, Greece – The Athens Classic Marathon is a fierce race which includes an uphill from the 10 km mark to the 31 km mark.
  7. Everest Marathon, Nepal – The Everest Marathon is holding the Guinness Book of Records as the highest marathon in the world. Although the marathon route is generally down hill beginning at 17,000 feet and finishing at 11,300 feet, there are two steep uphill sections.
  8. Jerusalem Marathon, Israel – The Jerusalem Marathon is a special marathon with plenty of uphills and down hills during the course of the holy places. There are no Everest slopes, but certainly not a flat Amsterdam kind of course.
  9. Pikes Peak Marathon – America’s Ultimate Challenge, the run is way above tree line, and elevates endlessly Elevation gain (start to summit) is 7,815′ (2,382 meters); The half marathon is Pikes Peak Ascent is a dazzling 21km all steep down hill running.
  10. Grandfather Mountain Marathon – Start = 3333 feet, Finish = 4279 feet, and zigzag uphill and down hill all the way. As one of America’s toughest marathons they request those not able to run under 6 hours not to register.

We did promise top 10 mountains, hills and trail marathon, but there is one more worth mentioning:

Buzzards Marathon – A beast of a marathon, known for it’s 5 hills which can break the toughest runners. The official website says:

Distance for the full loop is actually 26.2 miles. Plan on at least 4 to 7 hours to do the full loop. There are five gentle hills which will provide ample opportunity to walk and rest. Total elevation change is over four thousand feet. Read more…


Best Uphill & Downhill Running Guides


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Please add your personal tough, hard, trail, uphill marathons below and share this list with other runners. .