We realize investing in a group vacation is a risk without knowing what you’re really going to get. We also know that sometimes there can be concerns about the type of people and runners that you will meet. Will I be the slowest and left in the dust? Will I fit in? Is this for me? We’ve enlisted a few of our Veteran Travelers to share their experiences with you in the hopes of helping you make the choice to travel with us (we’re kind of a fun crowd.)
Kyla Wood and Greg Elston | Georgetown, Texas
Number of Running Cruisers with Marathon Expeditions? We’ve been on three trips, Alaska once and the Caribbean twice and we are signed up for next year’s Caribbean too.
These trips afford us the opportunity to run places we would never otherwise see. We’ve made great friends and look forward to active vacations with like minded people.
Are you a Runner, Run-Walker or Walker? I’m a run-walker with an emphasis on the walk and my husband is a runner.
When did you start running, run-walking or walking? In 2010
Why did you originally book the trip? My husband had been trying for years to get me to do events with him. I said I would do it. He jumped on it. Now I wish we could do more.
Did you have any fears before your first trip? Yes! That I would get left behind because I would be the last person everywhere! Turns out I haven’t ever even been last!
What calmed your fears? Learning that is really is okay to move at your own pace. Everybody is so encouraging and such a great group of folks. No matter what trip…
What do you love most about The Running Cruises? Everything about these trips make them perfect. I am with my husband doing something he really enjoys. Family and extraordinary running friends. John and Jenny make the trip a valuable experience for everyone.
What are your favorite run/walk events? The amazing races are always fun and exciting and running and navigating is a great way to see a city!
What tips would you give a first timer? Relax and enjoy the experience. We are all already winners!
How would you describe The Running Cruise in one sentence? A relaxing, fulfilling active vacation.
If you could pick one moment on The Running Cruise, what would be your favorite and why? The moment when people realize the coveted yellow hat and the event can be won without speed. Yes – slow folks can win too!
P.S. I love you guys and these trips you allow us to join you on! You are both changing lives for so many people. I am so grateful for these opportunities.
Deborah Dean | Oak Park, IL
Number of Running Cruises and trips with Marathon Expeditions? Six total Cruises: Caribbean 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015. Alaska 2010. Land: Italy 2011
Why do you keep coming back? I love an active vacation! Having the opportunity to go to exotic places and exploring beautiful sites while doing what I love (run/walk) with friends is priceless.
Are you a Runner, Run-Walker or Walker?: I’m a walker right now but am working my way back to being a run-walker!
When did you start running, run-walking or walking? I started running in 2005 and completed my first marathon in 2006.
Why did you book the first Running Cruise? The trip sounded like a LOT OF FUN.
Did you have any fears before your first trip? I travel a lot by myself and I knew there would be a group of like-minded individuals that I would be meeting and traveling with. Boy was I right!
Did you travel with a non-run/walk guest? I have traveled with my non-running sister on a couple occasions and she too had an awesome time!
What was your first impression of the group? My first impression of the group was that everyone was friendly. Not only were they friendly, but a lot of fun! I had no problem meeting new friends and had an unbelievably great time!
What do you love most about the Running Cruises? I love the wonderful times shared with friends, the accessibility of John & Jenny, the camaraderie, and the fact that no one is ever left behind. It is truly a vacation for all speeds of runners and walkers!
What are your favorite events on The Running Cruises? The Amazing Races, wherever they are! (and non-mandatory costumes) The excitement and sense of adventure that surrounds the Amazing Races are awesome, plus you really get to explore the island or city and see places/things you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do on the cruise ship excursions. (Plus having people stare at people running around in costumes is awesome too!)
What tips would you give a first timer? This is YOUR vacation, so be prepared to have fun while being active and meeting great people … all at your own pace.
Can you describe your experience on The Running Cruise. My experiences on The Running Cruises have always been positive … lots of fun and laughter in the sun and on the ship. There’s never a dull moment!
Describe the trip in one sentence. The Running Cruise is THE cruise for vacationers who have a running problem, and you will always leave the ship with more running or walking experiences, laughter and friends than you could have ever imagined!
If you could pick one moment on The Running Cruise, what would be your favorite and why? Sorry, there are really too many moments from different trips. Photographing a bear eating berries on a tree in Alaska for example. It was my first trip to Alaska on an Alaskan trail and it was my race, my pace. Coming in last at the amazing race in Italy and videotaping our response – what’s not to love in Italy? The police-guided race from the lighthouse in Turks & Caicos – literally going from one end of the island back to the ship! Ernst meeting us along our return with a frozen alcoholic beverage on Megan’s Bay not hilly-ish, but hilly, run and the messages and smiley faces on our way up of the same, and that beach bar, oh that bar!
P.S. The Running Cruise is a RUNcation that always leaves you wanting more time at sea. Each port adventure is a well thought out and carefully planned event. You think you’re just going on a vacation to run, but you leave with a lifetime of memorable experiences and friends! This is evidenced by how many people return, year after year!
Pam and I had a fantastic time on the 2015 Running Cruise; so much so, that we signed up for TWO more Running Cruises. A couple does not make that type of commitment unless there is some true exceptional value to that experience, and the Running cruise is exactly that, A true Exceptional Value.
A cruise can be a lonely experience, even while traveling with a significant other, if you only interact with your cabin steward, the dinner room staff, the casino dealers, the bartenders, and other cruise staff…OKay, there are plenty of ‘staff’ to talk with on a cruise ship, BUT, the idea of being part of a larger group upon a cruise ship is fantastic. We felt an ‘esprit de corp’ to borrow from the Marines; as we were part of the 135 people on board that where the ‘Runners’ .
As we rode the elevators to an event and we had our running bibs on, we were marked as ‘one of those’ running people. AND, we of course would have a great conversation with anyone about running and the Running Cruise ‘concept/idea’. We became salesman for the next Running Cruise.
Each Event/Run was exciting and challenging. The running in the Tropical Forest was by far my biggest fear, and turned out to be my most favorite run, (EVER). I had never done any type of trail running and was somewhat fearful about the idea of running in a tropical forest. As it turned out, it was the most beautiful and the most challenging and the most rewarding experience of the Running Cruise. Oh, and by the way, I ‘drew’ the Ace of Hears and won a ‘highly desired’ – Yellow hat.
The morning stretch class, with Coach Jenny Hadfield, was another great experience. We have been running for about 4 years, and consider ourselves NEW to running; so the stretches and strength building exercises where great for us to see demonstrated and do upon a Cruise ship while at sea. Great Experience.
John Bingham gave us a motivational speech that was emotional and motivational. He is an excellent speaker and his ability to share his knowledge and experiences are fantastic. It will be again, one of my memories of the Cruise that will remain in my mind for ever.
Earl Searcy | St. Joseph, Missouri
How many Running Cruises have you taken with Marathon Expeditions? The Caribbean was my first running cruise.
Are you a Runner, Run-Walker or Walker? I am mostly a run-walker.
When did you start running, run-walking or walking? I started walking in 2003 and run/walking in 2004
Why did you book the trip? We have always wanted to take a cruise and thought this would be a great one to start with.
Did you have any fears before your first trip? Yes (of course)
If yes, what calmed them? The fact that whenever we had a question or concern we were able to contact Mila at the Cruise Authority. Plus for us I contacted Jenny and one of the other runners that I knew.
Did you travel with a non-running or walking guest? Yes, my wife and she had a great time too. Everyone made her feel a part of the group and there were plenty of other things for her to do during the races.
What was your first impression of the group? I was afraid that everyone would be a faster runner than myself, but what I discovered was that The Running Cruise consisted of all levels of runners and walkers. It’s a great group to spend the week with.
What do you love most about The Running Cruise? The people are the greatest. The events were well organized and a lot a fun. The purpose of the events are to have fun and we did that. I did enjoy John’s joke as well as the jokes that the rest of the group shared.
What were your favorite events? I enjoyed all the events. I really enjoyed the San Juan Pirate Amazing Race because of the team work and it is a great way to see the city. I also enjoyed the trail run because it was my first time trail running. Meeting the boys at Haiti and running with them was awesome.
What tips would you give a first timer? Check with guest services on the ship to learn about all the activities on the ship and the excursions.
Describe your experience on the The Running Cruise. Both myself and my wife had a great time the entire cruise and can’t wait for next year.
Describe the trip in one sentence. The trip was very exciting for us.
If you could pick one moment on The Running Cruise, what would be your favorite and why? Our favorite moment of the trip was in Haiti and seeing the boys from the charity enjoying themselves in our run and at the celebration party.
Tony Widdicombe | England, United Kingdom
How many trips have you taken with Marathon Expeditions? This was our first.
Are you a Runner, Run-Walker or Walker?: I’m a runner.
When did you start running? About 10 years ago.
How did you find out about the trips? A woman on a past cruise suggested it to us.
Why did you book the trip? Something different from a normal cruise
Did you have any fears before your first trip? Yes we thought it would be too competitive.
If yes, what calmed them? The format Jenny and John have organized caters for all abilities and gets everyone involved. It’s still exercise but in a really fun way and not too intense.
Did you travel with a non-running or walking guest? My wife was probably more concerned than myself as she doesn’t run a lot but even she thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it was her idea to book again!
What was your first impression of the group? Although it was very daunting walking into a welcome meeting full of strangers for the first time, within a day everyone was getting to know each other and we made some great friends during the cruise.
What do you love most about The Running Cruise? Meeting like-minded people and being part of a group was really great. The events were well organized and we got to see more of the islands than we would have on a conventional cruise excursion.
What were your favorite events on The Running Cruise? It was between the Haiti Relays and meeting the boys and being able to raise some funds for their cause, and the rain forest run in St. Kitts. I personally enjoyed the 10K race in St. Maarten too.
What tips would you give a first timer? Embrace the experience. Going to dinner broke the ice and drinks afterwards was enjoyable. It’s a sociable event not just about the running and you will meet new people from all walks of life and come away with so many new friends and memories.
Describe your experience in one word. Brilliant!
If you could pick one moment on The Running Cruise, what would be your favorite and why? At the rain forest run a local guy directed us to a fresh waterfall which we secretly showered in, you can’t do that on a normal excursion.
P.S. John, Jenny and the team do a great job on these running cruises, it’s well organized, they put a lot of effort into it, and it all pays off by giving everyone involved a great experience. It’s great fun!
Ralph Oliveti | Columbus, Ohio
Number of trips with Marathon Expeditions? Two – 2014 and 2015 Caribbean Cruises
Why do you keep coming back? Because after the first one, there is no place on earth I would rather be during cruise week.
Are you a Runner, Run-Walker or Walker? I am mostly a run walker now.
When did you start running, run-walking or walking? I started running in February of 2013. Prior to that I had run some 5K events as part of sprint triathlons but never more than that. Ran my first half marathon in May of 2013 and my only marathon in November of 2013.
Why did you book the trip? I thought it would be fun to hang out with my friends, go on a cruise (which was my first of any kind), and run in some new interesting places.
Did you have any fears before your first trip? I had an injury leading up to the trip and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to run and would embarrass myself. Once I met the group I realized how fast or how far I ran didn’t matter. There were people of all speeds and all experiences there to have a good time, and we did.
What was your first impression of the group? People with at least one thing in common wanting to have a good time. And my initial impression proved out through the trip because of the common interest in running there was always an ice breaker to get to know the other people in the group.
What do you love most about The Running Cruise? Love the people. During the first cruise I met several people with whom I still communicate regularly. Several I have run with on occasions after the cruise and a few with whom I have travelled to half marathons in other parts of the country. I have been there for two of my new friends when they finished their first half marathons and one when she finished her very first marathon. And those occasions were very special to me and to them as well. During the second I met more people with whom I believe I will form a lasting relationship.
What are were favorite events on The Running Cruise? Haiti (Years 1 and 2) Year 2 especially because we got to run with the kids. St. Kitts – I absolutely loved the hike through rain forest. Only thing better would have been more time in the rain forest and less time on the roads. Old San Juan was beautiful. I can’t think of a better way to see the town than to go from one landmark to the next. Our group added a couple of unscheduled stops that made it even better.
Describe your experience on The Running Cruise. I have been scuba diving all of the world and thought I would never find anything that I could enjoy as much. The Running Cruise has matched my dives as must experience events. I absolutely loved both cruises!!!! Trying to figure out how to get back there again next year in spite of the fact I am paying for a wedding.
Describe the trip in one sentence. An unforgettable experience with people that you meet and want to see and spend time with over and over again.
If you could pick one moment on The Running Cruise, what would be your favorite and why? I have to list two … Margaritaville Café cruise 1 and Senor Frogs cruise 2. Most of the runners were there and let there hair down. They were periods of pure fun and joy.
P.S. I went into the first cruise afraid I wouldn’t fit in. I was 58 years old, normally slow, and injured at the time. I left as a full partner with a group of athletes some training for an ultra marathon and some who had still never walked more than a 10K. The running was the common ground that brought us together but the events and companionship developed over the week has created not just lasting memories but real and lasting friendships.
Joyce Wilson | The Villages in Sunny Florida
Number of trips with Marathon Expeditions? This was my first running cruise.
Are you a Runner, Run-Walker or Walker? I think of myself as a run walker.
When did you start running, run-walking or walking? In 1999 when I realized that I had added a “few” pounds (quite a free).
Why did you book the trip? I was excited to go on a cruise and be able to other things than eat and drink although I like those things. I was lucky enough to encourage a college friend of mine who was NOT a runner to join me.
Did you have any fears before your first trip? Generally not. Maybe a bit concerned how you could mix runners and walkers on the same events.
If yes, what calmed them? Meeting John and Jenny right away and the attitude they had about this being ALL FOR FUN. After all it was vacation!
What was your first impression of the group? My first impression was the same as my last impression. The group was awesome from the very first person I met through the entire trip!
What did you love most about The Running Cruise? First, really liked John and Jenny. I had dinner with John the first night so I got to really meet him early on. His jokes and story telling were awesome and he frequently mentioned members of the group by name. He took an interest in everyone. Jenny was very encouraging during the events.
Describe the trip in one sentence. This was a well planned trip with great people and great running/walking events.
If you could pick one moment on The Running Cruise, what would be your favorite and why? When Jenny said the St kitts hike was “hillish” and may include vines. Also I was honored to win the “joke off” and the yellow hat!
Rick Daitchman | Chicago, Illinois
What trips have you done with Marathon Expeditions? Caribbean Running Cruises – 2011-12,2014 & 2015
Why do you keep coming back? Camaraderie, bonding/making new friends / Giving to others (Haiti) / Weather / Inspiration & Accomplishment!
Are you a Runner, Run-Walker or Walker? Race-Walker
When did you start running, run-walking or walking? 2001
Why did you book the trip? I wanted to walk/exercise in warm weather over the Chicago winter – with like-minded individuals
Did you have any fears before your first trip? Of Course, fear of the unknown is unavoidable – I didn’t know how a walker would fit in and the mystery of the hectic schedule was a question mark for me. Once I found that there were others with the same (or lesser) ability than I and it was all about FUN – then I really relaxed.
Did you travel with a non-running or walking guest? I brought my daughter on the 2015 cruise and, not only did I get to spend a rare week with her BUT, she had a great time & really bonded with some new friends!
What was your first impression of the group? At first, as a walker – I was a little intimidated but, after the first experience, I realized and saw that it was not all about speed and competitiveness and was more about FUN! This kept me coming back.
What do you love most about The Running Cruise? (1) the people/bonding (2) the crazy traditions -joke offs (3) events (4) the Penguin monologues
What were your favorite events on The Running Cruise? (1) Haiti relays (helping others/Streethearts!) (2) Amazing Race (teamwork/map reading, using logic) (3) trail races (ceremony/customs/local personalities of club)
What tips would you give a first timer? I would say to try to attend the first cruise with an alumni or, if not possible – try to speak to alumni before the cruise so any fears or anxieties can be addressed and put to rest.
Describe your experience on The Running Cruise. Always a little “normal” anxiety (as at the start line of a race!) before the actual running/walking events ramp up but complete satisfaction at the end of the week knowing that I have really extended myself for what are usually four very different and energy-consuming-ISH events.
Describe the trip in one sentence. A week’s worth of intense “endorphin gathering”!
If you could pick one moment on The Running Cruise, what would be your favorite and why? The Haiti relay of 2015 when the Streetheart boys ran with us and we got to actually interact with them – it was VERY inspirational for me as we (on the cruise) have so much and they have so little. Giving back is one of my main goals at this point in my life – I have been blessed!
P.S. Bring on 2016!