Madagascar Marathon, Half & Ultra 50K
Often referred to as the Eighth Continent and earth’s fourth largest island, Madagascar is one of our newer adventure destinations! The marathon and half-marathon will be held in Isalo in the south central highlands with most of the course routed through Isalo National Park. This is Madagascar’s most visited area where the country’s oldest dinosaur bones were discovered.
The start will be at the Hotel Relais de la Reine and the finish will be at Hotel Jardin du Roy (its sister property), which is also the race’s headquarters. You will find both hotels blend into the surrounding magnificent hills. They offer an equestrian center, hiking trails, and complete spa services.
We offer a seven-night package with two nights in the capital city Antananarivo (Tana) where you will get your first introduction to the magnificent wildlife at Lemur Park. In addition, you will have the option to extend your stay to visit more of Madagascar to include hiking in amazing rainforest, lemur treks, and a beach resort experience. This exotic destination is ideal for the runner looking for their next adventure!
Travel Package Information
Sunday, June 2
Arrive at Ivato International Airport (TNR) in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar affectionately known as “Tana”. You will be met and transferred to the Relais de Plateaux Hotel (in close proximity to the airport) for your overnight stay. Airport transfers included. All meals are on your own today.
Monday, June 3
Following breakfast, we will have our first encounters with lemurs at Lemur Park! After enjoying a morning walking through this lush park full of wildlife, we will head to a local restaurant for lunch. The afternoon will be a visit to the Rova of Antananarivo, which is a royal palace complex that served as the home of the sovereigns of the Kingdom of Imerina in the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as of the rulers of the Kingdom of Madagascar in the 19th century. Following this we will return back to the Relais de Plateaux for dinner and overnight accommodations. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Tuesday, June 4
Today is our very early morning flight to Tulear. The group will be transferred to the airport with your English-speaking guides for the one hour flight to Toliara (also called Tulear) on the southwest coast of Madagascar. Upon arrival, we will begin the four to five hour (approximate) drive to Isalo, with a stop for breakfast first. Arrival at Le Jardin du Roy will be in time for a late lunch and a restful afternoon to get acquainted with your new surroundings. Tonight we will gather for our welcome dinner at Le Jardin du Roy. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Wednesday, June 5
Following breakfast, we will have a guided hike around Le Jardin du Roy property and surrounding area. After lunch at the hotel, you are free to do one of the several optional activities offered by the hotel. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Thursday, June 6
After breakfast, we will transfer from the hotels to Isalo National Park for a beautiful morning hike. The group will be divided into smaller groups and will then regroup at Canyon Namaza’s picnic area. For those who wish to continue their hike up to the stunning Cascades, a boxed lunch will be provided. This is a moderate to difficult hike, so guests should be confident in their balance and walking ability along wet and narrow paths. Those who wish to return to the Le Jardin du Roy for lunch will be transported back. All meals will be enjoyed at the hotel today. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Friday, June 7
Following breakfast is a visit to the sapphire mining town of Ilakaka. This area produces some of the world’s purest sapphires, which were first unearthed only 25 years ago. Enjoy afternoon activities at your hotel. Join us this evening for a race briefing prior to our pre-race dinner. All meals will be enjoyed at the hotel today. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Saturday, June 8 – Race day!
The start at 7:00am is outside your doorstep at the Relais de la Reine and the finish will be at the Jardin du Roy (both are within a very short walking distance of each other). The post-race party will include an awards ceremony, entertainment and will be followed by a buffet dinner enjoyed under the stars (weather permitting). (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Sunday, June 9
Depart your hotel today for the return drive to Toliara (Tulear) Airport for our flight to Tana. Upon arrival, those on Air France departing at 11:55 PM will check-in for their international flight home. For those flying out on Monday, an additional night can be arranged for you at the Relais de Plateaux near the airport for an additional cost. Those extending their time in Madagascar on the extension, please see the Post-Race Extension Itinerary for details. (Breakfast and box lunch included)
We will offer two extensions to suit the palate of those wanting a mix of rest and adventure and one for the true adventurer. Please note that the itinerary is subject to change. A minimum for each extension is required.
Sunday, June 9: Isalo | Toliara | Ifaty
This morning you will depart with the group to Tulear and after lunch continue by coach bus north to the beach area of Ifaty. The rest of the day is to relax from a long day of travel at the Les Dunes located on the beautiful coastal line of Madagascar. (Breakfast and lunch included)
Monday, June 10: Ifaty | Reniala Reserve
Today you have the option to relax and enjoy many of the water sports and activities Les Dunes offers or visit nearby Reniala Reserve, an eco-system known as the spiny forest consisting of towering spiny bushes and some spectacular ancient baobab trees. The botanical trail reveals a bird sanctuary, endangered radiated tortoises, various species of chameleons and lemurs as well. All meals will be enjoyed at Les Dunes.(Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Tuesday, June 11: Ifaty
Enjoy a free day to relax and take in your surroundings. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Wednesday, June 12: Ifaty | Toliara | Antananarivo
Following an early breakfast, you will depart to the Tulear Airport for your flight to Tana. Upon arrival in Tana, you will have lunch and experience the Digue Market. Once you have purchased your souvenirs, the group will make its way to the Hotel Colbert for your overnight accommodations. Dinner is on your own this evening. (Breakfast and lunch included)
Thursday, June 13: Antananarivo | Andasibe
Plan for an 8:00 AM departure for a three-hour (approximate) drive through the highland countryside to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park where you will spend the next two nights at the Mantadia Lodge (or Relais de Mantadia). This evening enjoy an optional nocturnal walk with your experienced guide before dinner. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Friday, June 14: Andasibe
Rise early to hike into Analamazaotra Reserve to see and hear the unforgettable babakoto (and other denizens). This is the largest of the lemurs, also known as the Indri indri, and has consistently refused to live in captivity – the only place in the world where to see them and hear their haunting call. Meals and overnight Mantadia Lodge (or Relais de Mantadia). (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included)
Saturday, June 15: Andasibe | Antananarivo
Following breakfast we will make a stop at Lemur Island and enjoy lunch at the Varkona Forest Lodge before we begin our drive back to Tana for your international flight home. A stop at the Relais des Plateaux will be included for a buffet dinner before your transfer to the airport. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Sunday, June 9: Antananarivo
Upon arrival in Antananarivo, we will continue to the Hotel Colbert Hotel for the evening to relax. Dinner is on your own.
Monday, June 10: Antananarivo | Andasibe
Rise early for breakfast and an 8:00 AM departure for our three-hour drive to Andasibe. Following check-in and lunch at the Vakona Lodge, we will visit Lemurs Island. Get ready to get the perfect photo of you and a lemur(s)! We will return to the Vakona Lodge for dinner and your overnight stay. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Tuesday, June 11: Andasibe
This morning we will visit the Analamazaotra Reserve to see and hear the unforgettable babakoto (and other denizens). This is the largest of the lemurs, also known as the Indri indri, and has consistently refused to live in captivity – the only place in the world to see them and hear their haunting call. You will enjoy a leisure lunch before late afternoon/ evening nature walks in Mitsinjo. Overnight at Vakona Lodge. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Wednesday, June 12: Andasibe | Palmarium
After an early breakfast we will make the drive to the coastal lowlands of Manambato and upon arrival, depart by boat on the Pangalanes Canal to the Palmarium Reserve, a littoral forest with a wide variety of palms, orchids, and other interesting plants, including the carnivorous “pitcher” plant. Dinner and overnight at the Palmarium Hotel Ankanin’Nofypark. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Thursday, June 13: Palmarium Reserve
Today will be exploring the reserve where there are ten different species of habituated (largely introduced) lemurs including the rare Aye aye, black-and-white ruffed, crown and sifakas. Also orchids, carnivorous Pitcher plants, rare insects, chameleons, frogs and green lynx spiders can be found along the well-maintained trails. Meals and overnight at the Palmarium. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Saturday, June 15: Palmarium | Tamatave | Tana
Following breakfast, we will return to the port city of Tamatave (Toamasina). You can expect about a four hour drive from Manambato to Tamatave. We will stop for lunch and time permitting visit a local market before transferring to the airport for the short flight back to Tana where you can then connect for your return flight home. If needed, overnight accommodations at the Relais can be arranged. (Breakfast and lunch included)
Packages & Rates
Madagascar Tour | Seven-Night Package: June 2 – 9, 2024
- Two nights in Tana at the Relais des Plateaux (or similar hotel)
- Airport transfers
- Services of English-speaking guides
- Excursions, entrance fees and local guides in parks and reserves as outlined on the itinerary
- One night in Tulear
- Four nights at the Jardin du Roy or Relais de la Reine
- Meals according to the itinerary
- Welcome reception (Isalo)
- Post-race party with entertainment (Isalo)
- Ground transportation according to the itinerary
- Domestic flights per the itinerary from Antananarivo to Toliara and return. Price is subject to change once domestic flights are confirmed.
- Gratuities for guides and drivers (this does not include local guides when visiting parks)
- Nature hikes as outlined on the itinerary
- Touring and sightseeing per the itinerary
- Services of Marathon Tours & Travel staff
- Race entry not included in the package price
Post-Race Extensions | Six-Night Package: June 9 -15, 2024
- Lodging and meals as specified on itinerary
- Intra-domestic flights and taxes on Air Madagascar
- Airport transfers within Madagascar as specified
- Ground transportation by bus as per itinerary
- Services of English-speaking guide
- Entrance fees and local guides in parks and reserves as mentioned
- International roundtrip airfare to Madagascar
- Marathon or Half-Marathon race entry fee (additional $150 per entry); Ultra 50K (additional $175 per entry)
- All beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic; bottled water at meals is not included)
- Travel Insurance
- Visa Fee
- Optional activities
- Personal items such as phone, laundry, etc.
- Airport transfers if not arriving on May 7 or 9; or departing on May 15 or 20
Flights: You should fly in and out of Ivato International Airport (TNR) based on your tour dates:
Seven-Night Package: Arrive on June 2 and Depart on June 9
Extension Package: Arrive on June 2 and Depart on June 15
Recommended Airlines (subject to change): We recommend waiting to book your airline until advised by the Trip Designer.
Air France – connecting in Paris, France
South African Airways – connecting in Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB)
Kenya Airways – connecting in Nairobi, Kenya (NBO)
Rates (all prices in US dollars)
Seven-Night Package Double Occupancy Single Occupancy Standard Room $3360 per person $3850 Deluxe Room (only in Tana) - SOLD OUT $3425 per person $3980 Post-Race Extension Double Occupancy Single Occupancy Option 1: Ifaty & Andisabe $2020 per person $2440 Option 2: Andasibe & Palmarium - CANCELLED $2210 per person $2505 Race Entry Fee Rate Ultra 50K $175 per entry Marathon $150 per entry Half-Marathon $150 per entry
Antananarivo (Tana)Relais des Plateaux
Located at Ivato, only five kilometers from the International Airport, Relais des Plateaux is a perfect spot for a short overnight while in the capital of Madagascar. Nestled in a wooded park, the Relais des Plateaux offers you the mix between local tradition and modern. We believe you will find this hotel to be comfortable and welcoming.IsaloRelais de la Reine and Jardin du Roy
These sister hotels will act as the Race Headquarters. The unique 4-star properties are hidden away off the main road and offer 15 buildings that include 3-4 rooms in each unit. Exteriors are constructed of hand cut granite with intricate stone work. Rooms are beautifully furnished from palissandre (Madagascan mahogany). The main buildings have a comfortable bar and restaurant and free Wi-Fi. Enjoy lovely views from the large pool or schedule treatments in the spa. An equestrian center is also on property. The course starts and at Jardin du Roy and finishes at Relais de la Reine.Antananarivo (Tana) - Extension OnlyHotel Colbert
The Colbert Hotel Spa & Casino shines its 4 stars in the heart of the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo. Located in the city center, its location offers panoramic views of the most beautiful monuments of the city of Miles. The Colbert Hotel has two buildings. The first offers its standard rooms and the new building offers offers deluxe rooms with additional comfort and upgraded showers and baths. There is free Wi-Fi in the lobby.Ifaty
The hotel is located along the Mozambique Channel just before the fishing village of Mangily, 27km north of Toliara. This charming resort nestled in a tropical park allows those who stay there to enjoy the pleasures of the lagoon, its great coral reef and excursions into the Baobab forest and its sand dunes.
It is built with local materials; a harmonious mix of dry stones for the walls and precious wood for the parquet floors, frames and furniture. The main building, whose roof of more than ten meters rests on a tree, includes the reception, the lounges, the main bar, the restaurant and its terrace. From there a large staircase provides direct access to the beach.
The beach bar is opposite the seaside swimming pool. An ideal place to admire the sunset while sipping a punch or a homemade cocktail. Electricity available 24/7 is produced by a solar power plant, allowing the hotel to be completely independent and ecological.AndasibeMantadia Lodge or Relais de Mantadia
Mantadia Lodge provides the tranquility, space and light of this vast region. Inspired by the hilly area of the mountains on which it rests, Mantadia Lodge is a welcoming oasis from where you can endlessly admire the wild beauty of the landscapes and animals of the most beautiful National Park of Madagascar. A truly exceptional experience.
Relais de Mantadia (the sister property of Mantadia Lodge) is the perfect blend of comfort & nature, an excellent hotel for nature lovers. Immersed in a eucalyptus forest, the rooms offers relaxing, soothing view accompanied by the music of birdsong. Only five-minutes from the National Park Analamazaotra and some private parks, the region is rich in flora and fauna biodiversity with many endemic species.
Race Date: Saturday, June 8, 2024
Start Time: 7:00 AM
Organizer: The race is organized by the Marathon Tours & Travel, Inc. in association with the National Park Association.
Course: The marathon course starts at Relais de la Reine. The course will cross over Highway 7 and enter Isalo National Park and run about a 14 mile loop back to Highway 7. The course follows some trails onto pasture land past through some small villages, across shallow streams and back to the finish at Jardin du Roy. A large loop within the park along grassy trails passes spectacular rock formations dating back millions of years. The courses have just a few rolling hills and good footing for 98% of the course. The half-marathon course is run almost entirely within Isalo National Park.
Entry Fee: The entry fee is $150 USD for the marathon or half-marathon and $175 for the Ultra 50K. Entry is offered only by booking a package through Marathon Tours & Travel.
Eligibility – All runners traveling from outside Madagascar must purchase the special travel package and enter through Marathon Tours & Travel. Runners in the marathon must be at least 18 years old on race day.
Time Limit: Marathon and Ultra 50K: 7 hours; Half-Marathon: 5 hours
Number Pickup: Numbers and pre-race briefing will be held at Le Jardin du Roy, official race headquarters. The pasta party will follow.
Aid Stations: Portable water is a valuable commodity in Madagascar. Runners must be self-sufficient while running. Drink stations with bottled water will be positioned where possible. Camelbacks and other carrying devices for liquids is highly recommended. Runners must bring their own electrolyte drinks or nutritional supplements.
Awards: Top three overall for males and females in both races. In the marathon: top two in each age category under 40, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70 and over. All finishers will receive a certificate and medallion.
Temperature: May is the dry season in Madagascar so expect little to no rainfall. The average temperature will be a high of 30C (86F) and low of 16C (61F).
Difficulty: Challenging Course. Although fairly flat with a few rolling hill, parts of the course is on sand, through grass, and through shallow water at various points on the course.
Packing Suggestions: Buying new shoes or clothes is not recommended. A better solution is to take old clothes and leave them behind as they will go to good use and you can travel light on the way home. Long sleeves and long pants for the forest are recommended as you will go off the trail and into the bushes at times. Also layers work best because it will be chilly at night and in the early morning. A sweatshirt, warm sweater and/or a scarf will come in handy! All carry-on items must comply with size, weight, and security regulations. A suggested packing list will be shared in your final documents.
Difficulty: Challenging Course. Although fairly flat with a few rolling hill, part of the course is on sand, through grass, and through shallow water at various points on the course.
Registration & Booking
Rates: Air and land prices may change due to currency fluctuations or changes in the tax or fuel surcharges.
Reservations and Payments: A completed tour application together with an initial non-refundable deposit of $600.00 per person must be received before confirming your reservation. Final payment is due before February 15, 2024. Bookings made after February 15, 2024 will require full payment at time of booking.
Cancellations: All payments, including your deposit, are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Non-transferrable includes applying your balance to another person, another year or another trip. Should you cancel for any reason, you will forfeit your trip investment. Therefore, travel insurance for every trip is highly recommended. All cancellations must be received in writing.
Not included in price: All items not specifically listed under tour features. You must secure and pay for your visa to travel to Madagascar. Airfare to Madagascar is additional. Entry fee is $150 additional.
Travel Insurance: For your protection, trip cancellation, baggage, health and accident insurance is highly recommended for all participants. However, no representation or description of the insurance made by our staff constitutes a binding assurance or promise about the insurance.
Security Policy: Marathon Tours & Travel’s security policy requires that anyone staying in our room block must be registered as part of our package. If a registered client attempts to house a non-registered guest and/or invite them to attend any of our scheduled activities, the registered guest’s tour package will be forfeited and parties may be denied access to future tours. Please note that no exceptions will be made as this policy will be strictly enforced.
Responsibility: These tours are operated by Marathon Tours, Inc. of Chelsea, MA who acts only as an agent for the passenger to the companies offering such services and assumes no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity caused by any reason whatsoever by any party offering such services. All terms and conditions offered are governed by the laws of Massachusetts. The right is reserved to cancel the tour prior to departure with a refund, less applicable credit card and processing fees, made as full settlement to the passenger. The right is reserved by Marathon Tours, Inc. to deny acceptance of a booking application by any person. Marathon Tours, Inc. may make any changes or alterations in the itinerary as it deems necessary for the proper handling of the tour. The sole responsibility of any airline used is limited to that set out in the passenger contract evidenced by the ticket. The airlines concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time that the passengers are not on board their aircraft.
"Great TRIP! Well planned..." - 2019
Great TRIP! Well planned. Guides were professional, knowledgeable, thoroughly informative, friendly, available and helpful! Travel once there, was efficient and comfortable! The resort was beautiful, breathtaking, unique & the service was excellent! In a word: WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW! In 2 words: THANK YOU!"It was the most spectacular and interesting marathon..." - 2019
It was the most spectacular and interesting marathon I have ever run. Being completely alone in such a stunning landscape was out of this world. And the cultural experience during the second half of the course was unforgettable!"Madagascar felt like a Dream, an amazing Dream!" - 2019
Madagascar felt like a Dream, an amazing Dream! Thank you for providing me with this extraordinary experience! It has enriched my being, my spirit, my soul! I very much appreciate what you have achieved for us, and have greater respect for what you do!"It may be my favorite marathon that I have run..." - 2019
I loved the opportunities to interact with the animals (Lemurs are amazing) and the incredible topography. Isalo National Park is incredibly beautify and I loved the opportunities to hike in it. The race itself was also a highlight. It may be my favorite marathon that I have run.The Runners Country Club
The company has been doing a great job listening to clients and adding some remarkable trips – Madagascar, Cuba, Jerusalem, Patagonia."I totally enjoyed myself - start to finish..." - 2017
First of all I’m probably not like most of the runners on this trip… I’m not a marathon/running maniac… I am going after my 7 continents only if it can take me to places I have never been before… I signed up to experience Madagascar… I don’t like to feel like cattle being herded around so I loved the small group setting… I am an outdoor action traveler… I like to get out and enjoy – experience – take part in the culture where I travel – … So I really enjoyed the hike to the Waterfall and was the first one in the water – and the trip to the Sapphire mine… I got to go down into the test hole… When else would I ever get a chance to do that… I loved all the rock formations and climbing around on them… What can I say… I totally enjoyed myself – start to finish."Zeid and guides Lala and Lova where very knowledgeable..." - 2017
Zeid and guides Lala and Lova where very knowledgeable, great personalities and fluent in English. Made excursions very enjoyable and I learned a lot about the country."New, exotic destination..." - 2017
New, exotic destination. Gorgeous location for a marathon. Outstanding medical support. Great initial group of participants."I loved the marathon course..." - 2017
I loved the marathon course. Going through streams and villages were pluses."I wanted to tick off the African continent..." - 2017
I wanted to tick off the African continent and was also attracted by the opportunity to travel to a county that is so far off the standard tourist route. It carries an air of mystique about it.
Meet the Reps
Business Development Officer | Senior Trip Designer
Business Development Officer | Senior Trip Designer
With more than twenty years of experience in travel logistics, conference planning, and marketing it has been a dream to blend her passion of running and travel with her career. Karen has completed 30 marathons, including Boston (2011, 2022, 2023), one ultra-marathon, and many half marathons and local races. She earned her Abbott Six Star Finisher Medal in London (April 2023).
Karen is certified as a running coach with Road Runners Club of America, a member of USATF and Marathon Maniacs, is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), earned her MS in Marketing Communications from the University of Kansas and BS in Economics/Finance from Bentley University. In addition to working on Marathon Tours & Travel marketing efforts, Karen manages our programs to Bermuda, Israel, Kenya, the Italy Coast to Coast Relay, Madagascar, Scotland, Athens and supports our U.S. packages to Big Sur and Boston. She is always looking forward to the next adventure!
Jeff first found Marathon Tours & Travel as a client while pursuing his interest for international adventure travel. He is respected for being an innovative corporate and philanthropic leader with a passion for helping clients accomplish their goals.
Prior to joining Marathon Tours & Travel, Jeff enjoyed a 28 year career in various client centric leadership roles at Morgan Stanley. Jeff is a middle of the pack runner who enjoys a good challenge – like earning the Abbott World Marathon Major Six Star Medal twice and becoming a Seven Continents Club Finisher at the 2019 Cape Town Marathon
In addition to completing 44 marathons, Jeff is also an avid climber, skier and paddler. Jeff is a proud member of the Oceanites Board of Directors, President of T.O.U.R.S. (Tour Operators United for Runners), a Founding Board Member and Past President of the Make A Wish Foundation in North Texas, and recently concluded ten years of service on the National Board of Back on My Feet.