Last Updated on November 29, 2023

The Marathons des Sables in the Sahara Desert has reached legendary status for being regarded as the toughest foot race on Earth, but there are many desert runs and events held all over the world every year.

From America to Australia, below you can find a list of challenging marathons you can take part in to push yourself to the limit.

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Desert Run
The Desert Run.

Desert Runs Around the World

Marathon Des Sables, Morocco

The world-famous Marathon des Sables is an extremely challenging multiday race that takes place every year in in the Sahara Desert of southern Morocco. The first event of the Marathon started in 1986.

In 2017, two new Marathon des Sables races where launched: the Half Marathon des Sables on Fuerteventura (Canary Islands, Spain) held in September, and another full-length Marathon des Sables desert run in Peru held in November.

Run The Red Desert, United States

The Red Desert in southwest Wyoming is the largest unfenced area in the continental United States.Run the Red begins in historic South Pass City, WY and takes runners through the Northern Red Desert — a maze of buttes, canyons, badlands, wilderness study areas and miles of open country.

Run the Red offers three distinct challenges — half-marathon, 50K, 100K — all designed to expose runners to the many shades and shapes of the Red Desert.

Petra Desert Marathon, Jordan

Petra Desert Marathon is a marathon and ultra half marathon (22.3 km) that took place for the first time on Saturday, September 26, 2009. The race is run in and around the ancient city of Petra in Jordan.Petra was the capital of the Nabataean dynasty at the time of Christ and lies hidden among the rugged cliffs of the Jordanian desert. The ancient city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Petra Marathon is a part of the extreme marathon series hosted by Adventure Marathon. 

The course of the race is more challenging than average marathons because of the many steep ascents and descents. The Petra Desert Marathon is a challenging adventure marathon set in the beautiful desert region of Jordan. Starting in the ancient city of Petra, the route takes runners on a remarkable route through the area surrounding Petra. From the lunar-like mountain landscape to the arid desert, runners navigate challenging terrain in the dry, desert heat. The Petra Desert Marathon is a hilly course with an ascent of roughly 1,200m and a descent of 1,100m.

Eilat Desert Marathon, Israel

The Desert Marathon in Eilat: The most beautiful and wildest route in Israel!

Join a race that begins in the desert and ends on the Red Sea shore. 

The route will lead you on a trek through the mountains surrounding the city of Eilat with their beautiful shades of sand, and breathtaking views to boost runners’ energy.Come and take part in a huge festival of running in Israel!

Simpson Desert Ultra, Australia

The Simpson Desert Ultra is one of Australia’s newest ultra marathons taking place in the heart of the Australian Outback. From towering sand dunes to rocky gibber plains it will surely test the limits of each participant and allow them to immerse themselves in a truly unique part of the Australian landscape.

Read also: Upcoming Desert Marathons 2022-2023

Desert Running Gear


Hanes Men’s Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt UPF 50+

Little Donkey Andy Men’s Stretch Convertible Pants, Zip-Off Quick-Dry Hiking Pants, UV Protection, Lightweight

Butrends Women’s Hiking Capris Pants Outdoor Zipper Pockets Workout Travel Cargo Pant
Read more: best clothing for desert


Oboz Sawtooth II Low B-Dry

Oboz Sawtooth II Low B-Dry
Hoka One One Clifton 7

HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 7
Xero Shoes Terraflex
Xero Barefoot Shoes Terraflex
Read more: Best Shoes for Desert Running
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75% Merino wool socks
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66% Merino wool socks

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40% Merino wool socks
Read more: Best socks for desert running


Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat

Columbia Unisex Adult Bora Bora Booney

Panama Jack Mesh Crown Safari Sun Hat
Read more: Best hat for desert
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100% cotton shemagh
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100% cotton keffiyeh
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Cotton/Polyester blend shemagh

Sun Protection

SPF 100 Banana Boat Sport Ultra

SPF 100 Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch

SPF 100 La Roche-Posay Anthelios

SPF 110 Neutrogena Age Shield
Read more: Best sunscreen for desert

SUNGAIT Ultra Lightweight Rectangular Polarized Sunglasses UV400 Protection

SUNGAIT Polarized Sunglasses

Handmade Wood Sunglasses with UV400 Polarized Lenses & Spring Temples

Hammockable Handmade Wood Sunglasses

BNUS Sunglasses for Men & Women, Polarized glass lens, Color Mirrored Scratch Proof

BNUS Sunglasses

ACBLUCE Kids Polarized Sports Sunglasses TPEE Flexible Frame with Adjustable Strap for Boys Girls Age 5-13

ACBLUCE Kids Polarized Sunglasses
Read more: Best sunglasses for desert


Sand Sledding
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