Overall Rating
Overall Rating (2 Reviews)
4.5
(2 Ratings)(2 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4.5
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
3
Tucked away in central Myanmar and home to more than 2,000 temples, Bagan’s beauty and historical significance is unsurpassed. Sacred pagodas and beautiful temples are scattered across the plains of Bagan creating a mystical, striking landscape. The marathon course will take runners on a voyage of discovery into this alluring … MORE
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Recent reviews

    TexasDevin FIRST-TIMER '15

    Mingalaba and welcome to my review of the Bagan Temple Marathon. First off, this race is incredible. The location is beautiful, exotic, tourist-friendly, and the people seem genuinely happy to … MORE

    Mingalaba and welcome to my review of the Bagan Temple Marathon.

    First off, this race is incredible. The location is beautiful, exotic, tourist-friendly, and the people seem genuinely happy to see the runners out on the course. I absolutely recommend this race for the runner looking for adventure and something your fellow runners back home will want to hear about.

    Now let’s get down to the nuts and bolts. This is not an easy race. I rate the difficulty at 4 out of 5 because I’ve had worse, but it was tough. The good news is that the course is pretty flat. I really don’t remember any hills worth noting. Now the tough stuff. Bagan is a warm place, even in December. This isn’t the tropical jungle you might expect out of Thailand or Cambodia, but it’s a warm dry race. I live and train in Houston, TX and I didn’t find it all that tough, but people from cooler climates may struggle a little on account of that.

    When i ran the race in 2015, the course was mostly paved roads, but I would say there was somewhere between 5-10 miles of sand you had to run through. That made things very tough, so be ready for that. The sand is not all at once and rarely is it more than a mile at a time, but you will be running on and off through sand pretty much the whole race. Because of this, my overall time was about one minute per mile slower on average than I expected.

    The scenery is incredible. You run through the temples of Bagan at sunrise. Dozens of hot air balloons will be in the sky in the morning and it’s a lot of fun. I don’t remember how frequently the water stops were, but i do remember they were always reasonably spaced. I ran this race with a hydration vest because that’s how I do hot races. Many people did not bring supplemental hydration and that was fine too. The staff takes medical care very seriously and even though i had no medical issues, it was very comforting to know that English-speaking medic crews on mountain bikes were never far away. At one checkpoint, they made each runner verbally acknowledge that we were good to go. I liked that.

    You will run through several villages and it seems like every little kid in the village is there to wave at you and high-five you as you go by. I do remember that toilets could be a bit tricky to come by, but there are lots of bushes and places to step behind a tree. Obviously, don’t pee on a temple! If you are prone to stomach distress, then I definitely suggest you have a little bit of paper on you just in case.

    Overall, it’s a well-run race. The swag is nice. The pre-race pasta dinner was top notch. The post-race chillout area was pretty good, but I was in kind of rough shape so I didn’t take advantage of too many amenities. Later that evening, we had a massive dinner and awards ceremony on a large sandbar in the river complete with a boat ride out to it. There was live music. There were fireworks. There was beer 🙂 The food was awesome. It was a pretty great way to cap off a good race day.

    Oh, one last thing, and this is just a piece of personal advice. I highly recommend you schedule a post-race massage with your hotel. The Myanmar style of massage is a bit vigorous, but certainly not violent. I hobbled in and came out feeling like a new man.

    #MarathonTours

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
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    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Feb 09, 2017 at 6:58pm

    Awesome review, Devin! Having grown up in TX (I graduated from Rice in your hometown) and now living in Southern CA I always like warm-weather races, so Bagan sounds perfect from both a runner's and traveler's perspective. And as if 26.2 miles weren't challenging enough, 5–10 miles of sand would make it so. Love the thought too of hot air balloons decorating the skies overheard. Thanks so much for all the helpful details – if/when I get to run Bagan, "don't pee on a temple!" will be the one piece of advice that definitely sticks with me! :)

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    Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '13

    The Bagan Temple Marathon was a tough, tough run. The course was run on thick mud, dirt trails with deep crevasses, paved roads and narrow paths. You pass a large … MORE

    The Bagan Temple Marathon was a tough, tough run. The course was run on thick mud, dirt trails with deep crevasses, paved roads and narrow paths. You pass a large number of the 2,000 temples that Myanmar is so well known for. The people of Myanmar were great hosts. My favorite memory of the course was deep into the marathon, running on a very narrow lonely path, and turning a corner and an elderly woman is sitting just off the course, clapping and cheering for every runner who goes by. The downside of the race was the heat and humidity, something I tried to prepare for but by mile 16 had brought my run down to a slow walk. One more point of interest, although this may have been a one time occurrence. The pasta feed the night before the marathon resulted in about 15-20 people getting food poisoning and unable to run the following morning. Be careful of what you eat!! A great race in a beautiful country. Run it for pleasure, not for a fast time.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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