The Petra Desert

A stunning, starkly beautiful run around Jordan's ancient cave city

Petra Desert Marathon

Petra, Jordan | Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021

One of a series of races that take place in extraordinary locations around the world — like the Great Wall of China, Myanmar’s Bagan Temple and South Africa’s Entabeni Game Reserve — this marathon begins at a location that will be very familiar if you’ve ever seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Starting from the famous carved pink sandstone at the entrance to Petra, which dates back to around 9,000 B.C.E., you’ll run through the desert of this part of southern Jordan, where “you will find yourself surrounded with tombs, caves and monasteries carved in the mountainsides,” the organizers say. While there are some challenging climbs along the route — which features a combination of sand, paved and gravel roads — the final few miles are a steady downhill to the finish.

$995 and up

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Words to run by

“Why do they not teach you that time is a finger snap and an eye blink, and that you should not allow a moment to pass you by without taking joyous, ecstatic note of it, not wasting a single moment of its swift, breakneck circuit?”

— Pat Conroy, author of The Water Is Wide