1. Market Drayton 10K, Shropshire
Date in 2013: May 13 - Find out more
Race director Tim Beckett can enjoy the plaudits for the next 12 months after listening to runners’ feedback and firing this Midlands cracker to the top of the pile. With a modest entry fee, an inviting course, top-notch marshals and a bulging goody bag, it’s the perfect blueprint for a successful event.
2. Port Sunlight 10K, Merseyside
Date in 2012: May 13
Sparkling Port Sunlight was built by a kindly 19th century factory owner for his workers, who made soap there. And you’ll be able to show rivals a clean pair of heels on this flat, double loop of the Wirral village, which debuted last year.
3. Southport Mad Dog Seaside 10K, Merseyside
Date in 2012: February 12
If you don’t like the hill-free lap around this coastal town you must be barking. Previously your top dog, gestures like handing over surplus profits to local charities and giving out goody bags worth lapping up helps this up to the best-in-show podium.
4. Balfron 10K, Stirling, Scotland
Date in 2012: April 22
North of the border, this is fast establishing itself as Scotland’s best 10K thanks to vocal locals running, marshalling and supporting it. The route winds its way around quiet country lanes along the Endrik Valley with views south towards the magnificent Campsie Fells north of Glasgow.
5. Polesden Lacey 10K, Great Bookham, Surrey
Date in 2012: June 24
Date in 2013: June 23 - Enter online now
The Edwardian estate of Polesden Lacey is the starting point for this testing course with rewarding views of the Surrey Hills. The congratulatory handshake from the race organiser for every finisher adds a quaint, old-fashioned touch perfectly in sympathy with its genteel setting.
6. Ashford and District 10K, Kent
Date in 2012: February 5
Thinking of something slightly more original to shout at the 900 runners rather than ‘nearly there!’ after the first kilometre must be tricky, but that’s what the super-friendly marshals on this course manage to do. The run is on closed roads with a hill or two to spice it up, and it’s ideal prep if you’ve got a spring marathon looming.
7. Pride Run 10K, London
Date in 2012: September 15
Runners were lured by the attraction of a super-fast, flat surface and also the chance for some celeb-spotting at east London’s Victoria Park last year. Sir Ian McKellen (aka Gandalf) was the official starter last year. Do this once and it could become a hobbit.
8. Riverside Runners 25th anniversary 10K, St Neots, Cambridgeshire
Date in 2012: August 19
Take a punt on this summer cross-country which follows the Great Ouse upstream on a mix of surfaces under foot – it’s sure to float your boat. With not a hill to be seen, it’s more than a Mars bar in the goody bag which means you drift back each year.
9. Cleethorpes New Year’s Day 10K, Lincolnshire
Date in 2012: January 1
Around 400 of you line up for this speedy dash to welcome in the new year. And with lots of rowdy support for those pounding the streets of Cleethorpes and Humberston, it’s clearly not just those in their running kit who see it as a way to clear their heads.
10. Old Deer Park Richmond 10K, London
Date in 2012: April 1
All abilities enjoy this slightly bumpy loop, which passes Kew Gardens and the Thames because it has potential PB written all over it. The race director earned the ultimate accolade last year – you praised the plentiful number of loos at the start!