Pocket Race Guide: Summer Race Series

Track the progress of your fitness and speed in a race series this summer


Posted: 15 June 2010
by Ben Palfreyman

Return to one course over the summer, and you'll have a golden opportunity to focus on your pacing and perfect your race strategy. Lessons learnt in these shorter races will give you a head start if you want to do well over longer distances - as well as giving you a good shot at beating your 5K and 10K PBs.

Threshold series

Threshold Summer Races (Stratford-upon-Avon, June 12)

Race series are just as much social events as they are an opportunity to claim new PBs and few races exemplify this more than the Threshold Summer Races, set in the beautiful Foxhill Estate.

Head to the heart of the Cotswolds for a spot of racing action, and after the race you can join fellow runners and spectators for a barbeque. If you've been running, it's the perfect excuse for a little 'carb replenishment', for spectators it's just good nosh! Stopping to socialise with other runners is also a great opportunity to swap tips and training techniques - and put them into practice on your next visit.

The course is packed with variety, so you can test out your trainers on a range of surfaces as it follows trails on farm tracks, stony paths and country roads. Enter online now

Race dates: June 12, July 10, August 7, September 18

Lancaster & Morecambe Race Series (Lancashire, June 13)

If the prospect of completing a marathon seems like a distant dream, try working your way up the distance ranks in this road-running series. The first race is a gentle 10K starting at a pub on the seafront, which takes advantage of the beautiful sea views from the promenade road before venturing inland.

With that under your belt, you'll have a couple of months to train for the enticingly named 'Wagon & Horses 10'. Named after a local pub, thoughts of the cold drink and roast dinner waiting at the finish will spur you on. The last race of the series is a half-marathon with a flat course through the historic centre of Lancaster and the pretty rural areas around the city.

You think it's all over? Not so fast... once you've come this far your next step could be the Newcastle Marathon at the end of November. Enter online now

Race dates: June 13, August 1, November 7

Queen Mother Reservoir races

Queen Mother Reservoir 5K/10K Race Series (Berkshire, June 15)

This race might not be by royal appointment, but the spectacular views to be enjoyed from the course are fit for a king. The path around the reservoir gives beautiful views of Windsor Castle and the surrounding countryside - though if you don't take your eyes off the scenery you might find yourself with a view of other runners' backs.

Aside from its regal location, the flat course is also perfect PB material. Its spectator-friendly ethos (think cocktails and food in the boathouse) encourages a good crowd of heartening supporters - another added incentive to speed you to a PB. When you join them for drinks a little later, you'll know that the treat is well deserved. Enter online now

Race dates: June 15, July 13

Fusion 5K Series (Llanelli, June 17)

There can be few better ways of spending a summer's evening than running along the South Wales coastline, looking over the Gower beaches and breathing in the fresh sea air in the UK's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The course is a good choice for PB hunters as it's flat, completely traffic-free, and as close to relaxation as you can get while chasing down a fast 5K time. Enter online now

Race dates: June 17, July 15, August 12

Chicks Chase 5K (Milton Keynes, June 24)

The race's name might suggest a Benny Hill-style chase with men chasing a gaggle of ladies, but the Chicks Chase 5K series is, in reality, absolutely the opposite. This is strictly a ladies-only event, and returning after a year's break the series promises to be as popular and competitive as ever.

The race comes complete with chip timing and a results screen at the finish so you'll be able to see how well you did as soon as you cross the line. Runners are also treated to drinks and fruit at the finish as well as a well-earned memento. Enter online now

Race dates: June 24, July 29, August 26, September 23

Thruxton 5K Series (Hampshire, July 5)

Famous for being the fastest motor racing circuit in the UK, this race series gives runners the rare thrill of enjoying the Thruxton Motorsport Centre in a rare traffic-free state. The flat 5K course is quite unique in its setting and although you would be hard pushed to beat Fred Goddard's lap record of 1 minute 2 seconds, the first race of this year's series did herald a new course record.

Thruxton's raison d'etre is speed and the incline-free and flawlessly smooth tarmac is a place where PB dreams come true. Regular kilometre markers allow you to precisely measure your timing though the lack of any drink stations on the course means you'll need to be prepared. If you enjoy this course, why not check out the Silverstone half-marathon next March? Enter online now

Race dates: July 5, August 9, September 6

Rye Summer Classic Series (East Sussex, July 16)

The small historic village of Rye has been home for the last four years to this family-friendly race series with 5K, 10K and fun run options.

The route takes runners out to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve to run through a kaleidoscope of landscapes and habitats, from sand dunes and quarries to salt marshes and reed beds. You'll arrive in the middle of breeding season - by July the sky should be full of curious-looking gulls, lapwings and redshanks. The summer classic series not only offers a stunning setting for the race - it also rewards the winners of the series with an all-expenses-paid trip to another one in Europe. Enter online now

Race dates: July 16, August 13, September 10

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