1. Mull of Kintyre Half-Marathon
Argyll and Bute, May 30
The finish area has a positively carnivalesque atmosphere with everything from whisky-tasting for the grown-ups to face painting and a milk bar for the kids. And everybody’s invited to swing a (tired) leg at the post-race ceilidh. Enter online now.
2. Adidas Thunder Run 24hr
Derbyshire, July 31
Brave souls can enter individually, but relay teams of up to eight are more the norm – and a sense of camaraderie goes some way to explaining this 24-hour event’s vibe. Runners cover a 10K off-road course through Catton Park and get the thrill of running in the dark. Enter online now.
3. Box Hill Knacker Cracker 10K
Surrey, January 1
You’d think the last thing most people would want to do on New Year’s Day would be hill running, but apparently not. The chance to get dressed up and play Box Hill Roulette – “Will I blow away the cobwebs or bring up my breakfast?” – is more appealing than logic would suggest.
4. Midsummer Munro Half
Surrey, June 19
A race that’s billed as ‘the hardest half’ and involves climbs equivalent to a small mountain brings a certain type of challenge-seeker. Either that, or people didn’t check the guide properly before entering. Either way, a sense of giddy masochism pervades. Enter online now.
5. Virgin London Marathon
London, April 25
One of the world’s five ‘Marathon Majors’ saw 36,000 runners and a million supporters turn out for British running’s biggest street party. Where else can you see the world’s best elite athletes and men running in ill-advised Borat-style mankinis in one place?