Salzburg – the city of personal bests, no matter what your distance

Is a marathon personal best your number one goal in 2016? Well if so look no further than the Salzburg Marathon on Sunday 1 May.

With just ten metres of vertical drop between the highest and the lowest point of the 21km two lap course, Salzburg is the destination many Europeans chose to tackle a fast spring marathon. With an extremely flat and very fast course, you’ll have your work cut out to try and take in the beautiful Austrian city as you fly around the 13-year-old course.

Starting in the centre of the historic baroque city, the course takes in almost every famous city centre sight as well as traversing Salzburg’s more green areas, set against a stunning mountain backdrop.

Within minutes of the start participants will pass the memorial of its most famous individual, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As they exit the city centre runners will cross the courtyard of Schloss Hellbrunn, before passing through a wooded area and reaching a beautiful little lake, Leopoldskron. At the end of the first lap, the Staatsbrücke bridge will guide them back to the baroque old town, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Salzburg is far more than just a marathon however, offering no fewer than 10 different racing options, depending on your age and ability. Aside from the headline race, Sunday 1 May also sees the Sparkasse Half Marathon and the Salzburger Nachrichten 10km take place; perfect for those who aren’t quite ready to run the full distance just yet.

And in the two days before the main event there are some seven further races to choose from, including the Friday night ‘after work’ run aimed at Salzburg residents who might fancy a 5km effort to kick-start their weekend, or the junior marathons of a quarter or half mile depending on the age of the children.

There is still time to register for the different events as part of the Salzburg Marathon here.

Like most major city marathons in Europe the Austrian city also has many charity runners, both in the main race and the ‘Integration Run’, with its ‘one mile for a smile’ tag line.

Supporting numerous charity-projects, the race welcomes people all ages, backgrounds and disabilities, with everyone running, walking or pushing side-by-side.

Winding through the historic centre of Salzburg, prizes are purely spot prizes and not linked to performance, so every participant has a chance of winning.

Fancy a slightly longer warm up run before the big day? Then why not try the Cup&Cino Breakfast Run, where guides take small groups on guided runs through the city, followed by a social breakfast with runners from all over the world.

Another quirky feature which helps Salzburg to stand out from the crowd is that it’s the only marathon in the world to be bio-certified, offering only regional and organic food. Where this isn’t possible, with bananas or oranges for example, the organisers provide high quality biological products instead.

Salzburg really is a true festival of running that’s growing organically year on year – music to the ears of its organisers.

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