Destinations Marathons

My Next Marathon Should Be Fascinating – If I Can Get a Visa

Written by Charlie

I am signed up to run the inaugural Tehran Marathon in just a couple of months, but I still need to wait to see if I get a visa. Find out about this inaugural event here!

It has been a while since I have done a marathon because of scheduling and asthma issues last year. Since I have done quite a few marathons (over 50 marathons/ultra-marathons), there are a couple of things that I look for with races – uniqueness or a course for a PR attempt (personal record). I love finding races that sound interesting or might be someplace I would want to visit.

Registered for the Tehran Marathon!

Date: April 7, 2017 | Tehran, Iran

tehran marathon

Link: Tehran Marathon

I have run marathons in several countries but never had to deal with applying for a visa to run the marathon! But, that is what I have to do this time! I have signed up for the inaugural Tehran Marathon (I love inaugural marathons!)! I have been to Iran once before and found it to be a very interesting country and was hoping I could go back. Well, it appears that I may be able to, if I get approved for a visa.

I wrote last year about the inaugural Iran Marathon because I found it very interesting that they were not allowing women to run the race (it was not the decision of the organizers but in keeping with the country’s laws). But, this time around, they are able to allow anyone to run – as long as they do not have an Israeli passport or Israeli visa in their passport.

Getting a Visa in Order to Run the Tehran Marathon

If you are traveling from the USA, UK, or Canada, the visa process is more stringent than from other countries. It means you have to submit more paperwork as well as wait for approval from their government before you know if you are going or not. Because it is a sporting event, I have been told that it should make it a little easier for applicants. Hopefully it will be!

So, I have submitted my paperwork and now have to wait to hear if I am approved or not! The good news is that if you are not approved, you will get a refund on your payment. It is a package deal since you need to be with an escort while in the country so I will be going (hopefully!) for 3 nights (wish I could go longer but that is all I can take right now).

Cost & Packages

There are a few packages you can sign-up for.

  • BASIC: Visa support, 3 nights 3 star hotel in a shared 2p room with breakfast, half day city excursion, entrance fees & Persian dinner party, transfers to/from start/finish marathon, start BIB number, marathon (medical) support and finishers medal. – Cost: €495 per person (based on double occupancy)
  • PREMIUM: Visa support, 3 nights 5 star hotel in a shared 2p room with breakfast, half day city excursion, entrance fees & Persian dinner party, transfers to/from start/finish marathon, start BIB number, marathon (medical) support, finishers medal and local help desk for travel assistance. – Cost: €675 per person (based on double occupancy)
  • ENTRY ONLY: start BIB number, marathon (medical) support & finishers medal – Cost: €125

As I found on my last trip there, the costs for tours and packages is not really that bad! I mean, €495 per person (about $520) gives the marathon entry (which is €125 of the fee) and 3 nights in a hotel with breakfast, the tour costs for the half day, the dinner, and all the transfers! That works out to being only €123 per night with breakfast, entrance fees for the tour, and transportation. Yes, it is very inexpensive for lodging in Iran but for a Westerner, it is nice to see a tour priced so reasonably.

They do have an extension to the trip that you can buy as a whole package by itself for €875 for 7 nights on a tour of the country. If you have not been to Iran before, that would make a great way to see the country in a short amount of time.

But, it will only work for me if I get approved for a visa. I was approved last time but it is never a guarantee that it will happen the following time. Some of my friends were going on tours last year and denied because they were not giving out visas to Americans. Hopefully, everything should be ok this time around.

Either way, it will definitely be something I will be sharing along the way! I am really excited about the prospect of running a marathon in Tehran! That would be quite the interesting shirt to wear to your next local race. 🙂

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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.


  • This is awesome! I hope your visa gets approved — though I’m confused whether you’re applying with a US passport or an EU one. If you’re applying with your non-US passport, I’d imagine it’ll be easier for you to get in.

  • Congrats on the decision to travel to Iran. The people are some of the friendliest in the world and will go over the top to help you out. You should have no trouble getting a visa with an approved travel agency. It is cheap and beautiful. I regret that commenters are confusing the regular citizens of a country with a few members of their government/military.

  • Hey- Charlie. Angie’s dad here. Enjoyed meeting and chatting with you in Greece. Go for it!!!
    This will definitely be a memory of a lifetime. Ignore the political statements. I heard the same crap when I went to Russia. Russia ended up being one of my favorite destinations.”. Can’t wait for your trip report. Have fun and enjoy your passions! .Hope to “run” into you in the future.( no pun intended)

    • Thanks, Joe! Good to hear from you – I really enjoyed the time with you as well!
      Thanks for the encouragement, I am looking forward to it and maybe we will run into each other again soon!

  • Hey Charlie – ignore the trolls who don’t know the difference between the people they see on the TV news and those who they might be able to meet if they travel to Iran. At the very least, the pre-race and post-race food will be amazing.