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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
Traveling to exotic destinations to run a marathon is just one form of niche fitness tourism that drives people from around the world to compete in new destinations.
Among the throngs of runners crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Sunday for the New York City Marathon, a fair number of them will travel not to Boston for their next race, but to lesser-known, far-flung destinations like Napa Valley, Mont-St.-Michel, France, even the savanna of South Africa.
“Sightseeing at 26.2 miles at a time” is how Thom Gilligan of Marathon Tours & Travel described this trend of traveling to marathons.
“There’s no better way to break through the touristic veneer of a destination than to participate, elbow to elbow, with local people,” he said.