Destinations Marathons

You Can Now Fly to One of the Most Remote Marathons In the World

St. Helena Marathon
Written by Charlie

This year it will be possible to fly to one of the most remote marathons in the world, thanks to the single commercial flight that now goes there. Check out the St. Helena marathon that will take place in November of this year! You may be the only person in your whole region to run this marathon!

Actually, this “new” flight started last year and was well covered in the media as one of the most “useless” airports in the world (and quite expensive, too). It is to St. Helena, the island in the South Atlantic that is famously known for being the place where Napoleon was exiled to.

Fly to One of the Most Remote Marathons In the World

But, the commercial flight to St. Helena Island in the south Atlantic only started flying its once-a-week schedule from Johannesburg last October. The St. Helena marathon event takes place in November. That did not leave a whole lot of time to line up for the marathon last year!

St. Helena Marathon

The St. Helena Marathon 2018

Link: St. Helena Running Festival

However, we are a good 7 months off so there is plenty of time to plan your trip to what is one of the most remote marathons in the world. If you want to go even more remote, check out the marathons put on by Richard Donovan in places like the North Pole and Antarctica!

Before the airport opened for commercial air travel last year (which, remember, is a once-a-week flight), to access the island by public means you needed to take a 5 day cruise from Cape Town, South Africa! Yeah, there were probably not a ton of marathoners making that trek!

But, now that there is a flight to St. Helena, you can fly in and spend a week on the island and take in what they call the Festival of Running. It takes place from November 4 – 10 and offers a plethora of race distances and events. It sounds like it would be a great blast indeed!

Take Down a Course Record?

Not only that, but they say it is quite challenging. It must be with the current record for men at 3 hours and 44 minutes (set in 2016). Now, maybe that is part due to difficulty and part due to the difficulty in getting to the island before! That means that maybe you could actually set a record at a marathon event, if you have the speed for this course! 🙂

Getting to St. Helena

As I said, there is currently one commercial airline option and that is leaving Johannesburg on a Saturday and flying to St. Helena with a single stop (which may count as a fifth freedom airport eventually). Of course, you would stay until the following Sunday.

st. helena marathon

The cost is not cheap and currently not bookable with Star Alliance miles (it is operated by Airlink from South African Airways). It is coming in at just under $1,200 for the roundtrip ticket! Still, when you consider you are running a marathon that is one of the hardest in the world to get to by commercial means, that’s not too bad! 🙂

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


    • Why do you think that? I would love to visit there, if for no other reason than it has been so secluded for so many years! Racing a marathon would be gravy!

  • it’s one of those remote for the sake of it …. like Svalbard or Vanuatu …. i’m not exactly all that enthusiastic about a $1200 ticket to literally the middle-of-nowhere. Between Feb 2017 and Feb 2018 I’ve flown :

    EWR-KEF , WW, $280 RT
    JFK-CDG, DY, $344 RT
    SWF-EDI, D8, $288 RT
    EWR-FCO, DY, $280 RT

    so i’ve done 4 roundtrip crossings of the Atlantic (if you count Iceland) and visited 4 nations for a plane ticket cost of $1,192 inc tax …. i don’t see what’s so insanely amazing about St Helena to justify your $1,168 quote

    • Those are some excellent deals and trips! I am hardly saying that this is something everyone should do or even that it is a great deal! But, things like adventure marathons, marathon tours, ultra marathons, destination marathons are big deals and people are spending up to 30 times that amount for some of these events! There is a market of people that like to do the rare marathons for the experience and to have that rare medal. This is definitely one of those!