Zurich Marathon

80 - 120 €












  • Flat course
  • The location
  • Multi event with many options


  • High budget
  • Expo could be bigger
  • Course not too entertaining
Edition:20th (42K, 2023)
World Athletics Label Road Race:No
Expected participants:13800 (all distances)
Distances:42K, 21K, 10K
Type of race:Road, flat
Time limit:5h 30min (42K); 2h 45min (21K), 1h 30min (10K)

Zurich Marathon is a multi event race held in the swiss city of Zurich, along the lake. The reasons why I chose this race are various. First, I had a friend wanting to try to run a 10K: there is nothing better than active support. Secondly, it is a place I have good friends to visit (also, the non-running type!). Third, I hadn’t run a race in Switzerland, yet. Let’s see how it went.

The booking process

I have not found the website user friendly. I had the feeling the english version was missing some info. However you will join a portal where, to register, it is needed a user profile. Three distances are available, the classic marathon, the half marathon, and a more confy 10K. This time, I opted for the half marathon, while my girlfriend and a good friend for the 10K race.

You can select your T-shirt size as well as the possibility of supporting a charity. Once done, you will go through the payment and the Email confirmation. All participants receive a registration confirmation directly after the online registration. During the week before the event, the organization sends a personal race mail with the most important information. 

Overall an ok process, but my experience says that the website has room for improvement. I don’t mean in the graphical way, but in the direction to allow a more direct and clear access to info.

The organization

I only had once to contact the organization via Email, and the response was fast and precise. But once there, I could not find an organization living up the high standards we would expect in Switzerland. First of all, the expo, was in reality spread in some spots organised by a local sport franchise, Ochsner Sport, that at the time of my participation, 2023, was the main sponsor.

So, if you expect a rich and vibrant expo with stands from all over the world, or many sponsor presenting products, you may be disappointed. The race pack in 2023 was including a bag, a voucher of 20 CHF (approx 20 €) to be used in Ochsner Sport, and few products.

The refreshment stations were enough, although not evenly spread across the course. I think this was to serve all the three competitions, sharing part of the path. After the finish line, there was a big line to access the (few) refreshments and the so longed finisher medal. Probably, the fact that time where the average 2h half marathon finisher was arriving, was the same of the 5h marathon finisher. This may have created some bottlenecks.

No particular issues with the start of the 10K race, happening at 14:00, 3h after the half marathon. The timing was perfect in that case, with no overlaps or issues.

Also, at 15:30 the organisation was already able to remove many fences and the impact of the race to the local traffic was minimal already. That was impressive.


Bib pick up

The course

The course of the three races has a lot in common:  starts at the Quaibrücke bridge, by the lake, with arrival nearby, at Hafendamm Enge.

The way from start to goal changes (and obviously the distance, I would say!) for the three competitions. A bit more variable the 10K, while the 21K and 42K look more a back and forth journey around one side of the lake shore. Running next to the lake has the great advantage of having a very flat course for all three distances.


Runners in Zurich



Personal impressions
I was there with my girlfriend, wo ran the 10K, and hosted by two good friends (she was an amazing support, while he ran the 10K as well). Getting to the start was easy, until the proximity of the start, I had no impression that a main event was taking place. Exactly, where is the music, the excitement?
That also means that reaching the bag handover station was easy. I actually left my things to my supporting team, and entered the corrals, for the warm up.
After start, we moved alongside the lake, basically on a straight line. The path of the marathon is similar, only the coverage of lake shore is longer, which means more than 70% of the race is on the same road. A bit too much for my taste!
Going also outside the city had another disadvantage, partly compensated by the nice view of the lake (when not covered by houses). Not much crowd support, either organised, or spontaneous, was available. Besides few enthusiasts, or entertainers, the atmosphere was quite flat, except the last couple of kilometers, leading to the finish line.

I would have expected a bit more from this race. But Zurich is beautiful, although not for all budgets. So, if you plan for a multi-event race in spring, somewhere in Europe, Zurich can be the choice you are looking for!

Did you like this review of Zurich Marathon? Please contact me for any question or if you find info to be rectified!

Find my traveling tips: what to do in Zurich 

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