8 Marathons in Taiwan That Are Worth Travelling For

8 Marathons in Taiwan That Are Worth Travelling For

Marathon enthusiasts listen up, this one’s for you!

Of awe-inspiring adventurous landscapes and rich traditions, Taiwan has captured our hearts effortlessly with its natural beauty and warmth of the locals. A popular holiday destination, it is not at all surprising that you might have visited this breathtaking country a couple of times and have grown to be familiar with the major sights and sounds found across the country.

Image credit: billy1125

If you have a love for the great outdoors and happen to be a fan of marathons, here’s an idea for you. How about embarking on your very own run-cation as we bring to you eight marathons in Taiwan that are worth travelling for! Your two-in-one vacation allows you to experience the city from a brand new angle as you explore these famed points of interest and get reacquainted with them during the course your race.

From racing through the familiar streets of Taipei and venturing off the beaten path on a trail run in Ankeng to an island-hopping marathon in Penghu, join runners from all around the world as you conquer these amazing routes together. Are you ready? Grab your pens to mark down your calendars and here we go!

 1. Wulai Gorge Marathon

Famous for its hot springs and rich aboriginal culture, Wulai is a mountainous township just 25km south of Taipei and could be easily explored on foot. Often said to be comparable to the Taroko Gorge, the Wulai Gorge stands to be equally magnificent and welcome visitors with its picturesque landscape. Find yourselves surrounded by spectacular waterfalls, river pools for swimming and great hiking trails.

Image credit: Running Holidays Facebook (right)

The Wulai Gorge Marathon is held in the month of January each year. Begin your run from the Wulai Suspension Bridge and make your way through Wulai’s famous sights such as the Lover’s Trail, Xinxian Suspension Bridge and Wulai Waterfall.

Month: January
Distance: Full (42.195km) and Half (21.0975km) Marathon

2. 5150 Taitung Taiwan

Image credit: IRONMAN

The 5150 Triathlon Series is a global olympic distance triathlon series. If you’re wondering how 5150 is derived, it is the total distance of the race, which equates to 51 km (1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run). Hosted in Taitung, athletes can take this opportunity to soak in the warm tropical weather, laid back atmosphere and enjoy the local’s warm hospitality while they visit this beautiful county in eastern Taiwan.

The 5150 Taitung was inaugurated in 2016, and it did not take long for it to become one of the most popular Olympic distance triathlons in Taiwan. Competitors would embark on a one-lap swim in the crystal clear Flowing Lake and continue with their cycling and running courses along the mesmerising coastline of Taitung. Plus, if you’re keen to take part in the IRONMAN Taiwan event, the 5150 Triathlon Series serves as a great warm up!

Month: March
Distance: 51km (1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run)

3. The Beast Trail

Trail enthusiasts, this one’s for you! Deliberately designed to take you on a journey to explore the wild nature of Taipei’s surroundings, The Beast Trail challenge is definitely the first of its kind in Taiwan. The race would be taking place in the picturesque valley of the Great Wall Creek Forest in Taipei’s Ankeng. Home to beautiful rivers and ancient architecture, you’d be blown away by the rustic vibes of the area. Prepare yourselves for a survival challenge as you navigate through the forest trails. At the end of the challenge dipping yourselves into the cool rivers to escape the summer heat.

Image credit: The Beast Trail

Granted, Taiwan Beast Runners events are definitely not the easiest as the trails require a certain amount of technical skill. With that being said, you could always write in to the organisers to seek their opinion on a trail that is suitable for your level of expertise before signing up. With four different trails to choose from, there’s bound to be something for everyone!

Date: 12 May 2018
Distance: 50km, 25km, 12km and 4km

4. IRONMAN Taiwan

Image credit: IRONMAN

Come 2018, IRONMAN Taiwan would be once again hosted across the stunning Penghu archipelago for the third time ever since the inaugural IRONMAN Taiwan in 2015. Penghu, otherwise known as the Pescadores Islands, is located in the southwest area of the Taiwan Strait and remains to be well-known for its magnificent beaches, glorious temples and traditional Taiwanese style-homes. Unfamiliar to most, did you know that Penghu is actually an archipelago of 90 islands in the Taiwan Strait?

Athletes challenge themselves and put their limits to a test as they embark on a 3.8km swim and 180km bike leg before finally finishing off with a 42.2km run which brings competitors along Penghu’s amazing coastline. Now, what better way is there to reconnect with nature than to get up close with the island’s scenic views and natural landscapes. If you’re a triathlon enthusiast, you wouldn’t want to be sitting out for this one!

Month: October
Distance: 226km (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run)

5. Sun Moon Lake Marathon

taiwan marathon

Situated in the Yuchi Township of Nantou County, Sun Moon Lake is known to be the largest body of water in Taiwan and has been ranked by CNN to be the top 10 most beautiful cycling routes in the world. The lake remains to be a popular destination and is probably scheduled on every tourist’s itinerary without a doubt. While boating is extremely popular, going on a hike or biking around the lake allows you to venture off the beaten path.        

Image credit: Sun Moon Lake Marathon (left) | Eddy Tsai (right)

The Sun Moon Lake marathon begins and ends at the Xiangshan Visitor Centre of Nantou County, the heart of Sun Moon Lake. As the race is held concurrently with the annual Firework and Music Festival at Sun Moon Lake, you’d be in for triple the fun when you sign yourselves up for this amazingly scenic marathon!

Month: October
Distance: 42.195km and 29km

6. Gaillardia Island – Penghu Cross-sea Marathon

Sign yourselves up for an island-hopping adventure on the Penghu Cross-sea Marathon! Held for the first time in November 2017, this marathon is definitely a first of its kind. While most marathons often begin and end at the same point, the Penghu Cross-sea Marathon takes you through a point-to-point course and allows you to experience island-hopping on your own foot.

Left: Penghu Great Bridge; Right: Daguoye Columnar Basalt | Image credit: Events for Taiwan Facebook

Begin at Siyu, the second largest island of Penghu, and continue with your run through the Penghu Trans-Oceanic Bridge, Baisha (third largest island of Penghu) and Jhongtun (eleventh largest island of Penghu) before concluding your run on the main island, Penghu. Due to Penghu’s geographic location, find yourselves challenging your limits as you attempt to overcome the strong cross-winds during the run. From the marathon’s unique point-to-point route to conquering the natural elements, don’t miss out on this race for a refreshing experience!

Month: November
Distance: Full (42.195km) and Half (21.0975km) Marathon, 5km Race

7. Taroko Gorge Marathon

Image credit: Taiwan Tourism Events

Get acquainted with Taroko National Park, a rare gem in this world! Held annually at the Taroko National Park, the Taroko Gorge Marathon offers two racecourses (a full and a half marathon) for you to choose for and is extremely popular, with slots selling out within a week or two. The race has grown in stature over the years and even with the array of events held across Taiwan all year, this marathon remains a top favourite.

Image credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas (left); miquitos (right)

Taroko National Park is definitely not a stranger to most tourists and local alike. However, the most common mode of transportation through the park is via driving and it’s not surprising that most people speed through the area in their vehicles without having the time to slow down to take in this beautiful park. As you run through the gorge on a marathon, discover new sights while passing aged wooden bridges, waterfalls pummeling the riverbed and old shrines that sit perched among trees, bringing you on a trip back in time.

Month: November
Distance: Full (42.195km) and Half (21.0975km) Marathon

8. Taipei Marathon

Taipei, the city we’ve grown to be so familiar with. Where Chinese culture meets an amalgam of Japanese, Southeast Asian and American influences, there’s always so much more to explore on each trip. This time round, take on a new perspective of Taipei as you travel the city on foot. The Taipei Marathon is a grand running event held annually, with the number of participants growing exponentially as the years go by.

Image credit: Taiwan Tourism Events

Not only popular amongst local runners, the race has evolved to become an urban marathon, gaining international attention and draws a large contingent of foreign athletes to travel to Taipei for the race each year. If you’re up for the challenge, come on down and join the ranks of these international runners and complete your year-end travels with this splendid marathon!

Month: December
Distance: Full (42.195km) and Half (21.0975km) Marathon

Are you ready for your own run-cation? Mark your calendars and start planning for one right now!Well there you have it, 8 Marathons that are worth travelling to Taiwan for! As you put your limits to a test and race against some of the best runners, satisfy your adventurous spirit and complete your experience through exploring some of Taiwan’s gems on foot. With that, walk away with a brand new perspective of these familiar destinations and get reacquainted with them.


A big thank you to Taiwan Tourism Board for the amazing opportunity to experience the inaugural  Gaillardia Island – Penghu Cross-sea Marathon!

About Author

Cheryl Seet
Cheryl Seet

Cheryl loves the outdoors and lives for adventures no matter how big or small. When taking a break from the sun, she re-watches the Harry Potter series and spends some time on the piano or guitar. She dreams of conquering extreme thrill rides all over the world, one theme park at a time.

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