I recently completed the Lake Garda 42 Half Marathon, and it was undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking running experiences I’ve ever had. If you’re passionate about exploring new places while running, this race around Lake Garda in Italy is a must-try.

The event offers two distances – a marathon and a half marathon, making it inclusive for all. Even kids can participate in a run the day before, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Our Italian adventure began with a visit to the expo in Riva del Garda, where we collected our race bibs and explored various stands featuring tempting items for purchase and information about other races.


On race day, we enjoyed an early start with perfect running conditions. The point-to-point course, whether for the full or half marathon, showcases the beauty of Lake Garda and its surrounding mountains. The relatively flat course is ideal for achieving personal bests or tackling the distance for the first time. As we ran along the lake, passing through charming Italian towns and tunnels, the views were simply incredible.

The course

Becca and I were entered for the half marathon (21km) starting in Arco and finishing in Malcesine, provided a stunning route with unforgettable sights. The finish line, surrounded by enthusiastic locals and the essence of Italian culture, was a true highlight.

Most of the race follows shoreline of Lake Garda, giving the most incredible views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The course is relatively flat, so it is perfect for those after a PB or if you are taking on the distance for the first time. As we ran along the lake we passed through the quaint Italian towns and through several tunnels. (There are no “oggy oggy oggy” chants in Italy)


It is the most stunning route – once we could see the castle at Malcesine, we knew we were are almost done. The finish line was a slight uphill, followed by a downhill finish where we were cheered on by enthusiastic locals and treated to the sights and sounds of Italian culture. 

For me, the 13 miles of this run were pure sightseeing, so the finish time didn’t matter. You would be a fool to not pause and take it all in; it is truly breathtaking.

Racing abroad

For those considering racing abroad, planning ahead is crucial. Booking accommodation well in advance is recommended, especially as the area can get busy during race week. We stayed in Malcesine, where the race concluded, enjoying the hospitality of ‘Casa Montini’ and even exploring the town on bikes provided by the hosts.

Be sure to pack appropriate running gear as the weather was a different to how it had been back in the UK. You also need to be aware of restrictions on hand luggage – I stupidly didn’t pack chafe cream – which was needed in the warmer climate. The race goody bag contained a lovely shower gel we couldn’t bring back, so this became a thoughtful gift for our Airbnb hosts.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re an experienced runner or a first-time marathoner, the Lake Garda 42 Half Marathon offers an unforgettable experience. The combination of a beautiful course, stunning scenery, and friendly crowds makes it a popular destination for runners worldwide. Consider adding this event to your bucket list, and get ready for an unforgettable Italian adventure. Plus, Italy is the perfect place for those pre-race carbs!

For more information on next years race – please visit the website!


Race entry – kindly gifted. Thank you to the event organisers for their hospitality.