A 20-year passion for adventure, travel and running

We’ve earned a reputation together

You inspire us to push the limit

We’re ready for the next chapter in this extraordinary adventure, are you?

A 20-year passion for adventure, travel and running


We’ve earned a reputation together

You inspire us to push the limit

Are you ready for the next chapter in this adventure?

20 YEARS OF UNWAVERING COMMITMENT AND RUNNING VICTORIES

THAT’S OUR STORY. WHAT’S YOURS?
In 2019, Albatros Adventure Marathons is celebrating 20 years of running The Great Wall Marathon – that equates to more than 25,000 celebratory finish line fist-pumps by brave runners from over 100 countries to conquer the Great Wall. What’s more, The Great Wall Marathon ignited our passion for delivering exceptional service, great experiences, pushing limits and achieving something extraordinary.

Today, we organize five unique events worldwide. Whether in the wilds of the African savannah, on the Greenlandic Ice Sheet, amid Petra’s sweltering desert heat, beside the magical temples of Bagan, climbing the Great Wall of China − or in the next adventure − we promise to keep pushing our limits, and yours!

Thank you for your commitment!

- Søren Rasmussen
Owner and Founder, Albatros Adventure Marathons
The original from 1999

The Story of The Great Wall Marathon

The story of The Great Wall Marathon began in 1998 when the founder of Albatros Travel, Søren Rasmussen, conceived a vision for The Great Wall Marathon while brainstorming new travel opportunities.

Although the idea of arranging a marathon on the Great Wall of China initially seemed too exclusive and unrealistic, Søren took on the challenge and flew to China to visit different sections of the wall with Thomas Thomsen, then Chairman of the Danish Athletics Association, and sports journalist Peter Fredberg – both avid runners. With the help of a local partner, Mr. Guo Feng, founder of Beijing’s Culturestone Event, the team from Albatros Travel identified a section of the wall that immediately felt ideal.

The Huangyaguan Great Wall – a section that winds through dramatic and lush scenery in the Tianjin Province –offered the possibility to see numerous small villages, which would enrich the view for the runners and infuse the race with some rare authenticity.

Without prior experience in organizing adventure marathons, there were more questions than answers regarding the organization of a race on the Great Wall of China. Safety had to be the first priority and a tremendous network of doctors, nurses, radio technicians, timekeepers and all-around volunteers – many of whom were former elite runners – was quickly established to set up the boundaries for the very first Great Wall Marathon.

A year after envisioning this crazy running event, Søren, Thomas and Peter joined 350 runners from Denmark at the entrance to the Great Wall of China in Huangyaguan. The runners were ready to loosen up and set their focus on the Great Wall of China. Some hours after the start signal, 292 Finishers successfully conquered the grueling marathon course!

In 2000, the race became international with runners from 8 countries. Now 20 years later, the original Great Wall Marathon sells out annually with 2,500 runners from more than 65 countries.

Although quite a bit of time has passed and The Great Wall Marathon has grown considerably, not much has changed… The course still dares runners of all experience levels and ages come to push their limits. The positive energy of like-minded running spirits continues to be one-of-a-kind. The organizational authority remains dedicated to preserving a personal, friendly atmosphere where an exceptional experience is the first priority.

To read the full story of The Great Wall Marathon by owner and founder, Søren Rasmussen, click here.

The Creation of Albatros Adventure Marathons
The initial success of The Great Wall Marathon led to the creation of a new organizing authority, Albatros Adventure Marathons, which set out to unite international runners through challenges hosted in locations of exceptional natural beauty and historical significance.

During the past two decades, Albatros Adventure Marathons has planned and organized 10 different running travel events around the world – this equates to a total of over 70 events! Today, our collection includes five major, internationally-recognized marathon events, each of which are held annually: The Great Wall Marathon, The Big Five Marathon, The Petra Desert Marathon, The Polar Circle Marathon and The Bagan Temple Marathon. Similarly, new adventures are always on the horizon!
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Video

Timeline of Albatros Adventure Marathons

1998
Søren Rasmussen, founder of the Danish-owned travel agency, Albatros Travel, has an extreme idea to run the Great Wall of China. After exploring various sections of the wall and meeting with local authorities, planning begins for The Great Wall Marathon − the first-ever marathon on the Great Wall of China and the largest, most well-known and longest running event by Albatros Adventure Marathons.
1999
Signals ring loud on 26 May, commencing the first Great Wall Marathon. Of 350 participants from Denmark, 292 runners finish the grueling marathon course.

The event’s success inspires the dawn of a new era at Albatros Travel and the organizing authority, Albatros Adventure Marathons, is born!
2000
The Great Wall Marathon gains international recognition with participants from 8 countries.

Albatros Adventure Marathons hold the first Karen Blixen Marathon in Kenya with 147 Finishers!

Thirteen brave and indomitable runners climb up Mount Kilimanjaro and subsequently complete the multi-stage Kilimanjaro Marathon descent.
2001
The Great Wall Marathon introduces the half-marathon distance with 186 Finishers. Marathon entries increase.

Runners accept the challenge of the first Polar Circle Marathon with 121 of 130 participants crossing the arctic finish line.
2002
Keith Matiskella (USA) sets a new record for the men’s half-marathon at The Great Wall Marathon, crossing the finish line in 1:33:14.
2003
Albatros Adventure Marathons cancel The Great Wall Marathon due to the SARS epidemic.

The first Great Tibetan Marathon is run in August with 179 Finishers. The event is held again in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
2004
The Great Wall Marathon modifies the original marathon route, due to flooding caused by the construction of a dam south of Huangyaguan. We add 5KM and 10KM events.

Albatros Adventure Marathons organizes the first and only Great Cruise Marathon, which is run afloat in the Caribbean Sea with 47 Finishers.
2005
The first Big Five Marathon is run in the private game reserve of Entabeni Safari Conservancy with 83 Finishers. No fences, no rivers, nothing at all separates runners from the wildlife!
2009
Albatros Adventure Marathons hold the first Petra Desert Marathon in the UNESCO-protected site of Petra, where 121 Finishers beat the desert heat.

The Great Wall Marathon celebrates its 10th anniversary!
2011
Melanie Newton (AUS) sets a new record for the women’s half-marathon at The Great Wall Marathon, finishing with an impressive time of 1:48:55.
2012
Albatros Adventure Marathons hosts the once-in-a-lifetime Solar Eclipse Marathon in Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia. A total of 336 runners finished the marathon and half-marathon.
2013
The Great Wall Marathon reaches max capacity of 2,500 runners for the first time! The new 8.5KM Fun Race replaces the 5KM and 10KM. New course records are also set in both the men’s and women’s marathon - Silvia Serafini (ITA) finishes strong in 3:32:12, while Jonathan Wyatt (NZL), Jorge Maravilla (USA) and Dimitris Theodorakakos (GRC) tie with 3:09:18.

Albatros Adventure Marathons holds the first Bagan Temple Marathon – it’s a big success with 145 Finishers!
2014
The Polar Circle Marathon introduces the Polar Bear Challenge. Participants can test their limits by running in both Saturday’s marathon and Sunday’s half-marathon. When finishing both races within the time limits, runners get the Polar Bear Challenge Medal as well as the half-marathon and marathon medals.
2015
Her Royal Highness Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol, Princess of Thailand is the second place female finisher in The Bagan Temple Marathon’s 10K event.
2016
The Great Wall Marathon celebrates the 20,000th finisher.
2017
This year’s Great Wall Marathon represents the 60th event organized worldwide by Albatros Adventure Marathons.
2018
Registration for The Big Five Marathon sells out in under 3 hours!

The Great Wall Marathon celebrates over 25,000 Finishers since 1999!

The Polar Circle Marathon adjusts the weekend schedule due to extreme weather on the Greenlandic Ice Sheet. Martin Møller (GRL) sets a new course record in the men’s marathon with an incredible time of 2:53:45.
Expectations for 2019
Mr. Henrik Brandt, who is the only person to finish all 19 Great Wall Marathon events will be back again 2019 - what an achievement!

Albatros Adventure Marathons expects to hit a number of milestone finishes with the 2,000th finisher in The Polar Circle Marathon, 2,500th finisher in The Big Five Marathon, 1,000th finisher in Petra Desert Marathon and 2,000th finisher at Bagan Temple Marathon.
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Albatros Adventure Marathons