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Destination Race: Niagara Falls Marathon – A truly international experience

First run in 1974 and having made many changes along the way, this international marathon and associated races are known to have the "world's most famous finish line."


How often can you say you ran a marathon from one country to another? At this race you can!

Event: Niagara Falls International Marathon

Date: Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016

Location: Buffalo, N.Y. to Niagara Falls, Ont. 

Races: Marathon, Half, 10K, 5K, Schools Marathon Challenge

Website: www.niagarafallsmarathon.com

After a long, storied and at time turbulent past, the Niagara Falls International Marathon is celebrating it’s 19th anniversary this weekend. First run in 1974 as the Skylon Marathon, the original event folded in 1986. It was revived in 1998 as the Casino Niagara International Marathon and again re-branded in 2007. This will be the 10th year it is known as the Niagara Falls International Marathon.

RELATED: A brief history of the Niagara Falls Marathon

The course has changed over the years but remains one of few events worldwide that start in one country and finish in another. Additional race options–a popular half marathon as well as 10 and 5K–have also been added but only the signature marathon offers a truly international experience. Marathon participants are pre-cleared by border officials and then bused across the border to the start in Buffalo, N.Y. on race morning. They must either carry their passports while they run or have them securely stored during the race.

Niagara Falls Marathon Map

The current marathon course begins in Buffalo, N.Y. at the Albright Knox Art Gallery and takes participants on a brief journey through the city before crossing the International Peace Bridge into Canada. Following a loop of historic Fort Erie, participants travel north for a majority of the race distance along the Niagara River Parkway to the “world’s most famous finish line” near the Horseshoe Falls, which is the finish for all race participants. The half-marathon is also run as a point-to-point course that starts approximately 21K from the finish. 10K and 5K races start on Upper Rapids Boulevard in Niagara Falls and complete a short out-and-back along the Parkway before finishing at the falls.

The event also features a two-day Health and Fitness Expo which is open to the public and takes place at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday morning there is a Running Room International Breakfast Run to help shake out pre-race nerves. New to 2017, a post-race party at the Niagara Brewing Company will be offered featuring music, prizes and live event coverage.

The Niagara Falls International Marathon is one of Canada’s most unqiue and storied races. It now attracts approximately 1,000 participants in the marathon and about 2,000 in the hugely popular half-marathon. An additional 1,000 also participate in the 5K and 10K.