If you live outside of the UK and have never been to Scotland, choosing to run a marathon in Scotland may not even cross your mind.
But, Scotland also has some beautiful marathons that deserve consideration when trying to choose which marathon to train for.
Below, we have rounded up our picks for the best marathons in Scotland.
What Are the Best Marathons In Scotland?
Whether you are a Scottish runner looking to enjoy a relatively local race on your home turf or are an international runner looking for an unforgettable destination marathon, take a gander at our list of the best 2024 Scotland marathons.
Even though Scotland is a small country, it has a diverse landscape, with iconic highlands, gorgeous countryside, and stunning coastline.
Despite being small in size and population relative to England, there are several great 2024 Scottish marathons to choose from.
There are some larger city marathons, trail marathons in Scotland, and scenic Scotland marathons through the stunning landscape.
Therefore, compiling the list of the best marathons in Scotland isn’t just an exercise in trying to pick a decent marathon from slim pickings; rather, there are many wonderful marathons in Scotland in 2024 to choose from.
4 Best Marathons In Scotland To Add To Your Bucket List
Among the 2024 best marathons in Scotland listed below, you will find some fairly large city marathons, some of the fastest marathons in Scotland, some of the hardest marathons in Scotland, some trail marathons, and some of the most scenic Scotland marathons.Hopefully, at least one or two of these suggestions will either spark your wanderlust to head to the UK or be a worthy consolation prize (that may even end up being far better than you ever could dream!) for not getting into the 2024 London Marathon.
If you’re looking for a real challenge and want one of the best trail marathons in Scotland, you can test yourself at the Glencoe Marathon.
This event has three routes (including a full marathon and a half marathon) set in the stunning Northwest of Scotland.
As you might expect, this is a wild off-road marathon with rugged and challenging terrain, and is definitely one of the hardest marathons in Scotland, if not one of the hardest marathons in the UK.
You will need to tap into your primitive roots and test your endurance in the mountains.
But, if you want to feel like you’re William Wallace of Braveheart running through the meadows and mountains of Glencoe Valley in the Scottish Highlands, you can tackle mountain ridges with names like the Devil’s Staircase and Aonach Eagach Ridge.
This is an absolutely unforgettable marathon in Scotland with stunning and jaw-dropping views of the Scottish Highlands and mountains stretching up towards the clouds.
Outside of Scotland, foreigners often have little knowledge of the life and history of Scotland, but the legend of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, certainly is one of the few bits and bobs about the country that most people can cite.
Well, this Scottish marathon is an opportunity to possibly catch a glimpse of the famed Loch Ness Monster.
As the race organizers say, “Maybe aye, maybe nae.” We say, “Either way, it’ll be a great day!”
After all, the Loch Ness Marathon and Festival in Inverness, Scotland, is one of the most popular and biggest marathons in Scotland.
There is also a 10k and 5k for other runners in your clan who might not be up for a full marathon yet.
Not only does this race draw tons of Scottish runners, but also other fellow UK runners, and an international contingent as well, filling out a field size of 8,000 runners that consistently sells out.
The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon is held in late October, along a point-to-point route around the renowned gorgeous freshwater lake in the Scottish Highlands.
This means runners get to take in the colors of some lovely fall foliage with the peaks of the Scottish mountains jutting up towards the sky in the distance.
There is usually optimal weather for running, with temperatures usually around 47 to 55°F.
Despite being one of the biggest marathons in Scotland, there’s a low-key, friendly, and welcoming atmosphere at the Loch Ness Marathon, which gives non-natives a true sense of the Scottish culture, even if Nessy isn’t spotted!
Certainly one of the best marathons in Scotland is the Edinburgh Marathon.
The annual Edinburgh Marathon held in Edinburgh City in May, is also one of the biggest marathons in Scotland, it is also considered the fastest marathon in Scotland, if not one of the fastest marathons in the UK.
The course is said to be one of the flattest UK marathons, so this might be one of the best 2024 Scotland marathons for a PB.
Unlike some big-city marathons that often have a fairly boring course, the Edinburgh Marathon has a beautiful route.
Interestingly, although it is known as the Edinburgh Marathon, you spend very little of the 26.2 miles in Edinburgh.
But this fast UK marathon course still allows runners to see some of the nice outskirts of the city as well as enjoy the finish line in lovely Musselburgh.
Runners meander through the historic city where you get unobstructed views of some of Scotland’s key landmarks.
The 26.2-mile course also takes you out of the city and along the coastline.
There, you’ll enjoy picturesque views and a welcome fresh breeze to cool you down (the temperatures are sometimes unseasonably warm for this late spring Scotland marathon).
The course is fast with a net downhill, so it is one of the best marathons in the UK for a PB.
#4: Moray Marathon
For many years, there was a Moray Marathon in Scotland, which was the oldest marathon in Scotland.
Unfortunately, that annual event ended many years ago, but a brand new Moray Marathon in Scotland is scheduled for April 2024.
This spring marathon in Scotland is shaping up to be a great event, and the race organizers hope that it will quickly become not only one of the best marathons in Scotland but the best marathon in Scotland.
The Moray Marathon starts and finishes in Elgin at the running track, with the route heading through Lossiemouth past the beautiful Moray Coastal towns and villages.
This looks like it’s going to be one of the fastest marathons in Scotland, with a flat course with plenty of scenery along the marinas, beaches, coastal towns, and a couple of parks.
The inaugural event is going to be the only spring road marathon in Scotland in the North and East areas of Scotland.
So, if you are looking for one of the best marathons in Scotland in the spring, and you don’t mind heading up north, this is going to be a great option.
Like most well-organized marathons, the Moray Marathon will have chip timing, prizes, and a family-friendly finishing area for those cheering runners on.
The course is certified and is a Scottish Athletics-approved marathon course that can be used for Boston Qualifying and London Championship Entry, along with any other marathon entry that requires a qualification time.
It is important to note that this Scotland marathon will take place on open roads that are not closed to traffic, so the roads are relatively quiet and serene so there shouldn’t be much concern.
However, you cannot wear headphones in this race for safety unless you use bone-conducting running headphones.
You can read more about how to run safely with music here.
One final note about this promising-looking 2020 for a Scotland marathon is the generous six-hour cut-off time.
This will give runners, joggers, and first-time marathoners a great beginner-friendly marathon in Scotland for a walk/jog approach to get through the 26.2-mile distance.
Runners will have access to water stations every 3 miles but no gels or fuel is provided, so you will want to bring your own energy gels to this race. You can read more about energy gel alternatives here.
Did you find a Scotland marathon that you want to train for in 2024?
Check out some of our free marathon training plans here.