Home-stays, scenic tours, and cultural exchanges are a part of a new marathon network connecting serious runners with hosts and events around the world.
The Sister Marathon Initiative (SMI), currently in its inaugural year, is part all-expenses travel agency, part couchsurfing, geared toward travelers looking to bang out 26.2 and make friends along the way.
The Initiative is hoping its member base, currently over 500, will grow into a supportive community of runners and enthusiasts who will share not only accommodations and travel, but nutrition ideas, fitness tips, and favorite trail spots and routes in cities everywhere.
The idea is simple: Sign up for a free membership and create a profile, learn about upcoming marathons around the U.S. and the world, and connect with other runners and hosts to make traveling to an out-of-town marathon easier.
Members also have the opportunity to embark on paid “group adventure” marathons to exotic destinations. The logistics are handled by SMI and include formal lodging, guided tours, professional coaching, and for the 2017 group adventure in Bhutan, a celebrity meet-and-greet with ultrarunning champion Scott Jurek.
In addition to these members’ benefits, SMI partners with charities around the world through its Peace Initiative. Supporters of SMI can “purchase” sweepstakes entries for the featured group adventure by donating to a Peace Initiative charity that supports youth sports in countries across the globe.
This year’s partnered marathons include the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, Amica Insurance Seattle Marathon, Madison Marathon, Kona Marathon, Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon, Mount Abu International Trail Marathon India, Ogden Marathon, Med City Marathon, Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, Maui Oceanfront Marathon, California International Marathon, Fargo Marathon, The Cowtown, Portland Marathon, Grandma’s Marathon, Santa Rosa Marathon, Lake Tahoe Marathon, Bhutan International Marathon, Mankato Marathon, US Bank O.C. Marathon, Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon, IMT Des Moines Marathon, and Eugene Marathon.
–Sign up for a free account or learn more at Sister Marathon Initiative.