How to enter a marathon in Iraq?

There are 1,000s of marathons across the world, many of which are household names in the world of sport, such as the London Marathon or Boston Marathon.

But have you ever heard of doing a marathon in Iraq?

You heard that right – there is indeed a marathon in Iraq.

You may well be thinking – how easy is it to enter a marathon in Iraq?

And the answer is, you can go running in Iraq without many issues.

Erbil Marathon 2023

Date – Friday 27th October

Every year at Untamed Borders we take a group of international tourists to run in Iraq at the Erbil Marathon.

We are returning to the Kurdish north of the country again in October to take part in the Erbil Marathon.

The Iraqi running event is designed to be more than just a test of sporting endurance – it was organised with the view of bringing all the country’s different communities and religious groups together, to show solidarity and champion peace in the country.

There is a full marathon option at the event, but there is also a 10km option and a 5km running option in Iraq.

It’s also a mixed sex event, so both women and men can take part, along with children.

Erbil Marathon FAQs

How easy is it to get a visa for the Erbil Marathon?

Citizens of the EU, UK, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Russia, China, South Korean, Japan, Australia and New Zealand can apply for a visa on arrival at the border at Erbil Airport.

It costs $77 USD and allows you to stay for 30 days in the Kurdish north of the country (it doesn’t allow you to enter southern, Federal Iraq).

If you enter via Baghdad Airport you’re also allowed to stay in the country for 30 days, but you’re able to travel across the full country.

Other nationalities have to apply to the Iraqi consulate in their home country before arrival.

Can women enter the Erbil Marathon?

Yes, they absolutely can. The Erbil Marathon is a mixed event, which reflects the progressive atmosphere in the city overall.

How hot will it be at the Erbil Marathon?

The usual average temperatures in Erbil during October fluctuate between 15 and 30°C.

How many people enter the Erbil Marathon?

20,000 people usually run at the Iraqi Erbil Marathon.

The event draws in people from across the world.

Is it safe to run at the Erbil Marathon?


The security situation in Erbil is good and it’s deemed a safe part of Iraq.

There is a very strong security presence at the event and in the city in general, which helps maintain the stable security situation.

How long has the Erbil Marathon been going?

The first ever Erbil Marathon took place in 2011, with people running in Iraq every year since, apart from during the COVID pandemic.

How to book a trip to the Erbil Marathon

Untamed Borders offers group trips to the Erbil Marathon.

The package offers travel and entrance to the race in Iraq, but you also get much more.

On the 6-day trip you have chance to explore Erbil, before heading out into the countryside to train with Iraqi runners.

You also have a day visiting the spiritual home of the Yazidi people in Lalish and visit the Algosh monastery in the stunning Iraqi countryside.

You will then take part in the Erbil Marathon and have chance to enjoy another rest day in Erbil.

Untamed Borders offers the package to people who want to take in all 3 distance options – the marathon, 10km and 5km.

Booking link:

If you have any questions about the Erbil Marathon trip with Untamed Borders you can also email –