1. The Grizzly, Seaton, Devon
Date in 2012: March 11
Date in 2013: March 11 - Find out more
It’s surprising how many runners can bear this tough 20-miler with hills galore, beach and an infamous bog. But the classic multiterrain prowl around south-east Devon appears irresistible to many of you.
2. Roseland August Trail, Cornwall
Date in 2012: August 18
The RAT, as it’s affectionately known, is a 32-mile Cornish coastal run from St Anthony Head to Porthpean – or, if the thought of that ruffles your fur too much, you can sink your teeth into an 11- or 20-mile route instead. A great race to have notched up, especially as you chill your whiskers listening to the bands at the post-race bash.
3. Trionium Picnic Ultra Marathon, Dorking, Surrey
Date in 2012: June 23
Despite its name, this 30-miler over the North Downs is no picnic whatsoever – in fact, it’s as tough as a week-old roast beef sandwich. With over 2,000m of ascent and descent to hamper you, its legendary camaraderie among the runners will go a long way to helping you eat up the miles.
4. Trionium Midsummer Munro, Dorking, Surrey
Date in 2012: June 23
The organisers of this one have a real sense of humour, inventing
a race in genteel Surrey that would be at more at home in the Scottish Highlands. You’ll tackle 11 climbs incorporating 900m of ascent in a race recently increased from 13 to 16 miles as a
‘special treat’ – some joke.
5. North Downs Run 30K, Gravesend, Kent
Date in 2012: June 24
Date in 2013: June 23 - Enter online now
It’s approaching its 30th birthday, but this hilly out-and-backer along trails through fields, woods and parkland couldn’t be in finer fettle. Attention to detail by its well-drilled organisers and smiley marshals help runners forget this exhilarating race is tougher than many marathons.
6. Bewl Water 15, Wadhurst, East Sussex
Date in 2012: July 1
Date in 2013: July 7 - Enter online now
Nestling on the East Sussex/Kent border, the huge Bewl Water reservoir provides a convenient circuit to stage this 15-miler, which follows the water’s surrounding paths. The three climbs in the second half will help you justify making a succession of raids on the event’s highly praised cake stall afterwards.
7. Lincolnshire Wolds 10 Mile, Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Date in 2012: September 1
You’ll laugh hollowly at anyone who tells you that eastern Lincolnshire is flat after running this tricky course, which has been around for three decades. Runners adored the cool long-sleeved T-shirts in the goody bag – though maybe not as much as they love the pub with a barbecue close to the Rothwell finish.
8. Ashby 20, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire
Date in 2012: March 18
Date in 2013: March 17 - Find out more
This Aldi supermarket chain-sponsored double loop around Ashby and the Leicestershire countryside is certainly more rewarding than spending your Sunday morning stocking up on loo rolls and baked beans. Peppered with inclines rather than hills, you’ll ring up a solid 20-miler before you’ve checked out.
9. Colworth Marathon Challenge, Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire
Date in 2012: June 22
If there were a Glastonbury of running then this three-day extravaganza of races would be it. Three runs of 5, 8.1 and 13.1 miles (adding up to the magical 26.2 miles) in a rural setting spread over a long weekend means the vibe among runners – many of whom enjoy the free camping facilities on offer – is rocking.
10. Harvel 5, Dartford, Kent
Date in 2012: June 2
It’s worth firing up the satnav to seek out this hilly five-miler in rural Kent, which has a village fete atmosphere about it on race day. Competitors enjoy quirky touches such as the firing of a shotgun to signal the start and the timing clock mounted on the back of a local farmer’s tractor.