“Venice is one of the best marathons I’ve run so far,” says Ben Annear in OMQ Fitness Magazine. If you wake up early and make your way down to the Zattere or the long sunny stretch of the Riva degli Schiavoni, you’ll find a stream of Venetian runners pounding the canalside against impossibly beautiful views. Jogging is increasingly popular in Venice -- Venice By Run conducts running tours through the labyrinthine back alleys of Castello and out along the Cavallino peninsula for the most spectacular sunset jog.
In early October, 10,000 runners make the mad, 42-kilometre dash from the Brenta riverbanks to San Marco in the Venice Marathon. The course is flat and fast, and “there was an abundance of beautiful sights along the route and for the first few miles after the start we ran alongside the beautiful river,” writes Ben Annear. “There were also bands playing rock music along the route.” Equally fun is the non-competitive, 12-kilometre Su e Zu Per I Ponti (‘Up and Down the Bridges’), which is held in April and attracts between 10,000 and 15,000 people raising money for charity.
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