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Why Placencia Celebrates "The End Of The World" With A Marathon Every December

The world may not have ended in 2012, but it sparked the start of the annual End Of The World Marathon in Placencia Village, Belize! Doomsdayers ran with apocalyptic theories when the so-called long-count calendar—which spans roughly 5,125 years starting in 3114 B.C.—reached the end of a cycle on December 21, 2012.

Instead, the inaugural End Of The World race, spanning either 13.1 miles for a half marathon or 26.2 miles for a full marathon, was held the very same day! A thrilling community-based tradition first started by Chip Lovett, a retired Biochemistry Professor and marathoner, has since awarded over 400 student scholarships to youths by donating all proceeds to the Placencia Rotary Club High Scholarship program.

Last year in 2022, 50 participants ran the 26.2-mile full marathon, with 235 participants in the 13.1-mile half marathon. In fact, last year was the first time a past scholarship recipient won the race in their category! Here’s how to plan to watch, volunteer, or even participate in the upcoming 12th Annual End Of The World Marathon and Half Marathon this ​December 10, 2023, in Placencia, Belize.

Plan Your Trip To Run in Paradise Along The Caribbean Sea

Traveling for a marathon or other race can be a unique way to experience both the destination and the run. Whether you’re returning to this corner in Southern Belize or exploring an entirely new stomping ground, planning ahead makes all the difference. Especially if you aim to complete a full or half marathon away from home here on the paved Placencia Peninsula, here’s how to get prepared—and pumped.

First things first, you’ll need a place to stay! December actually falls within Belize’s high season—which runs November through April—so choose your accommodations before they become booked out. We may be biased, but Sea Spray Hotel is the perfect balance between both serene quiet and in-the-heart-of-the-action inside Placencia Village. Resting between Placencia’s world-famous sidewalk and the inviting Caribbean Sea, the hotel hosts 19 rooms ranging from a singular private beachfront cabana to economy rooms, to its unobstructed sea view rooms complete with private porches. Regardless of what your budget looks like or if you’re flying solo for the End of The World Race, there are accommodation options for everyone, from our Economy Rooms to our Seaside Cabanas.

Register To Run or Volunteer

Secondly, register to run and volunteer if you’re hoping to get more involved than just a bystander! Enjoy the travel, even if you have a minor mishap. If you don't enjoy the journey, you're missing out on so many memories that make the whole marathon experience richer. Registration ends on Friday, October 13, 2023.

Bask In Your Accomplishment On The Beach in Belize

Last but not least, plan your trip to begin with your half-marathon or marathon. By starting your trip with the race, you can spend the rest of the week basking in the accomplishment of finishing, seeing the local sites, and enjoying what the (delicious) restaurant scene has to offer—which actually starts from the evening before the race! On Saturday, December 9, 2023, runners will head to Turtle Inn for packet pick-up and a team dinner. Everyone can ‘carb up’ at Turtle Inn’s flagship Mare Restaurant with none other than authentic, handmade pasta from the small and inviting Balinese-style beach resort created by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.

Fueled up for Sunday, December 10, 2023, both the half-marathon and marathon legs begin at 5:30 AM, except in different locales. The 26.2-mile marathon course begins at the football field at the bottom of the peninsula and goes through Placencia Village, Seine Bight Village, and Maya Beach, with multiple views of the Caribbean Sea along the way. The course then loops back a few miles south of Riversdale. Meanwhile, the 13.1-mile half marathon course begins at the marathon turnaround and both races finish in Placencia Village. Rain or shine, you’re guaranteed to have fun, especially considering the local hotels, restaurants, and businesses find fun and whimsical themes to decorate the ~20 water stations along the race course! Think ninja turtle staff at Turtle Inn or Alice in Wonderland at Chabil Mar Resort & Villas. Award ceremonies begin at noon, and the post-race beach party continues until midnight.

After, reward yourself with well-deserved R&R on white linens and the sound of crashing waves at your beachfront hotel of choice in Placencia Village, like the Sea Spray Hotel. Start planning your Belize vacation with Sea Spray today!

All marathon images were taken by Bill Taylor, Adriane Taylor, and Kevin Quischan Photography.



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