The hot and dusty course is a challenge for most runners participating in the Bagan Temple Marathon. However, the beautiful temples, the friendly villagers and the other-worldly atmosphere make this marathon one of a kind. Find out more about the race below.
Clothing and weather
The weather in November is hot and humid with temperatures reaching highs of around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Light-coloured clothing, short-sleeve technical shirts are a good choice as sweat is not absorbed (like cotton), sun block is a must (use SPF30 or above), a running hat with visor is also advisable as it can help keep the sun out of your eyes.
For information on the route, start and finish lines, drinks stations and other course-related information, look at the course map.
The time limit is seven hours from the start. Full marathon runners have a five hour cut-off at kilometer 27 near Water Station 7. All runners who don’t make the cut-off time or the time limit will be picked up and driven to the finish line.
The Bagan Temple Marathon will take place on 25 November 2017. The 2018 edition will take place on 24 November.
The Bagan Temple Marathon features three competitive distances, a full marathon, a half marathon and a 10K race. All distances start and finish at the same time and place.
Full marathon runners must be minimum 18 years old on race day. Half marathon runners must be at least 16 years old. And 10K runners must be at least 12 years old on race day. 10K participants under the age of 12 are also welcome if accompanied by a runner aged 16 or above.
On race day, a team of doctors and paramedics will provide medical assistance to runners in need. The medical team reserves the right to remove any runner who is unable to complete the race. Please note that all decisions made by the medical team or race officials are final. The medical team will consist of Danish doctors and local paramedics.
Photos and finisher's certificate
Marathon Photos will take personal photos of all runners. The photos can be purchased after the race from www.marathon-photos.com. A finisher's certificate will be available for free download.
English-speaking race officials from Albatros Adventure Marathons are in charge of the event. All decisions made by the race officials and medical team are final. This also includes stopping a runner before or during the race.
Sign up for Bagan Temple Marathon.
The Bagan Temple Marathon starts and finishes at Htilominlo Temple, built in 1211 and known for its fine plaster carvings.
The first part of the route is the same for full and half marathon runners, and the last section starting at approximately 13km for the half marathoners and 35km for the marathon runners, where the route converges.
After the start, the first 5km are run on dirt roads through the plains of Bagan towards Old Bagan. Runners will be treated to magnificent views of thousand-year-old temples and pagodas.
The course continues on asphalt for about 1km before hitting the dirt road again as runners carry on across Bagan. The next 5km are on dirt roads.
10K runners follow the same route as the full and half marathons until the course reaches Old Bagan where they turn back to Htilominlo Temple and the finish line.
As you reach the 11km mark and the water station there, you pass the Dhammayazika Pagoda. At this point, the full and half marathon runners part ways.
Marathon runners turn right whereas half marathon contestants go left.
Half Marathon runners
Half marathon runners continue 1km on an asphalt road until they take another left onto dirt tracks which lead into the small village of West Pwazaw. After passing the village and roughly 2km later, the route crosses paths again with the full marathon course.
The full marathoners turn right after the Dhammayakiza Pagoda at the 11km mark. They carry on towards New Bagan, but instead of entering New Bagan, runners continue onto a sandy path and enter what feels like a different realm. The course takes runners on a journey of discovery. See ox carts laden with grain plodding on the sandy track. Wave to farmers tending their rice and peanut fields. Be prepared to high five gaggles of children decked out in their festive clothes waiting to say hello. It feels like time has been standing still in this remote corner of the world.
At 22km, runners enter the beautiful Nyaungdo village. The surface is now back to being a dirt road and the course continues onto a dam with the view to the right of a stunning mountain-top pagoda, Tuyin Taung Pagoda. To the left, the palm-fringed fields lie below and the spires of Bagan’s temples shimmer in the distance.
From 26-30km, runners continue on an asphalt road which is not closed off to traffic, so remember to keep to the left.
The route continues onto a dirt road and through the fields until another village is reached. The course takes you through East Pwazaw village where the residents are likely to be outside their homes and cheering you on! This small village with its palm-leaf roofs and warm residents will undoubtedly give you a boost of energy to carry on.
The marathon and half marathon routes meet
A dirt trail connects the route to West Pwazaw village where the marathon route meets the half marathon course.
After West Pwazaw village, the course continues through the plains of Bagan and runners are again rewarded with views of the historic temples.
At this point, the surface becomes asphalt for about 1km before reverting back to dirt tracks again. The final stretch is a mix of dirt and asphalt surfaces before the long-awaited finish line is in sight back at Htilominlo Temple.
Kilometre signs will be set up along the entire route. Owing to the conditions, however, they may be placed a few metres from the precise kilometre mark, so use signs for orientation only and do not calculate your speed based on the signs.
Rules and regulations
Nordic walking and trekking poles are not allowed.
The marathon, half marathon and 10K race start and finish in front of Htilominlo Temple. It is possible to deposit bags with personal items for use after the race. Although the finish area is manned, depositing personal belongings in the area is entirely each runner’s responsibility and the marathon organisers are not responsible for loss or damage of personal belongings.
The race starts at 6:15 am.
A tool for race directors to tell hundreds of runners apart, made of plastic-like paper, which you pin on your body. They also serve as mementos and for others to monitor your progress.
You will receive your start number in the goodie bag we will be handing out the day before race day. The bib numbers are colour coded according to the distance you are running. Full marathon bibs are black. Red is for the half marathon distance and the 10 KM bibs are green. Please do not bend or fold the bibs as the timing chip inside may break.
Supplies on the Route
There will be water stations along the route. Some stations will also serve energy drinks and bananas. Personal supplies can be deposited at certain water stations. Please look at the course map for more information about where the stations are located.
A mixture of dirt and sand on trails and roads. Some stretches of the route are on paved roads (asphalt). The route is relatively flat.
Time taking and results
The Bagan Temple Marathon is timed with a bib chip timing system. The final results will be published on the website as soon as possible after the race.