Readers' Top 10 UK Races: PB Potential

The most PB-friendly British races of 2009 - as voted by you, the runners who ran them


Posted: 23 February 2010

Abingdon Marathon

1. Abingdon Marathon

Where? Oxfordshire When? October

There’s a reason why the Abingdon Marathon is perennially popular with Britain’s club runners – it’s a veritable checklist for marathon success. Join the crowds heading to Oxfordshire and you’ll be treated to a flat course, chip timing, regular drinks stations, and plenty of spots to shout encouragement around the two-lap course. Despite a few minor changes for 2009, the race’s tried-and-tested road course still passes through Abingdon before heading out to encompass the villages of Drayton, Milton, and Sutton Courtenay.

"This race sets the standards that club-organised events should aim to mimic. It's an RW forum party, a Fetch frolic, a PB hunter's autumn target and altogether a great day out. Eleven out of ten." Blisters

Reader Reviews | Enter 2010 Race

2. White Horse Half-Marathon

Where? Oxfordshire When? April

Set your sights on the White Horse Half-Marathon for charming rural scenery in spades as well as massive PB potential (as long as you can complete the course in under 2:30 - the race cut-off limit). This long-running fixture’s single-lap route winds through quiet country villages in the Vale of the White Horse, a corner of England named after the intriguing horse figure cut into the area’s striking chalk hillside. At around 3,000 years old and 374 feet long, the Bronze Age spectacle - Britain’s oldest and most famous hill figure - is an epic backdrop to this beautiful race.

"Great little race - nothing flash or fancy. You get a road (flat and quiet) and a race (perfect sized field and well marshalled). No carnival. No trinkets. Has the feel of luxury food packaged as Tesco's own brand. True quality without the hype." Welsh Gasman

Reader Reviews | 2010 Race Details

3. B&Q Eastleigh 10K

Where? Hampshire When? March

Join a speedy field packed with club runners for this fast and furious road race. The Eastleigh 10K is free of any bothersome distractions, allowing you to get your head down in pursuit of a quick time. The single-lap course takes in one solitary hill, and even that's been scoffed at by entrants as 'a pretend one'. The urban route, super-flat course and slick organisation means you'll have everything on hand to smash your PB.

"Wow - how fast?! A brilliant course that lets you get into your stride for the first 2 miles, gives you a short climb while you are still strong and then lets you get on your toes downhill for 6K. A dream for PB hunters." Michael Rix

Reader Reviews | 2010 Race Details

4. Help The Aged Leeds Abbey Dash 10K

Where? West Yorkshire When? November

The Help The Aged Leeds Abbey Dash has all the ingredients you'll need to race up a storm, and its November timing makes it the perfect late-season PB attempt. The traffic-free road course (complete with chip-timing) means you'll have no distractions, and if that's not enough to spur on, just think of the amount the event raises for charity - last year's event raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for Help the Aged. 

"Super-fast, brilliantly organised race, especially considering the size of the field. Great support from crowds and marshals - shame about the wind!" David Gillian

Reader Reviews

5. Epilepsy Action Bradford 10K

Where? West Yorkshire When? March

The Epilepsy Action Bradford 10K pulls off a rare combination - it's a bustling, city race but with top-notch PB potential. Now in its third year, the race's out-and-back course takes a mix of club runners and beginners through the heart of the city, with a suitably impressive start and finish in Centenary Square. And, perhaps surprisingly, there's plenty of space to pass other runners on the wide, traffic-free route. The race also includes chip timing and a super-fast online and text message results service - so you can soon boast about your time afterwards!

"This was a very slick operation with friendly, helpful marshals and a relatively big turn-out on closed city-centre roads. Just beat my PB  - the run is fast but mentally challenging on the long, straight road." Tim Johnson

Reader Reviews | Enter 2010 Race

6. Admiral Swansea Bay 10K

Where? Swansea When? September

The Swansea Bay 10K comes with some serious razzle dazzle – this big-hitting race boasts more than £7,000 of prizes, a fiercely-contested fancy dress award and music playing at the halfway point and finish.  And it’s not just the buzzing, friendly atmosphere that draws people back year after year. If you’re coming to Wales in search of fast times you won’t be disappointed - the out-and-back course is pancake-flat.

"For a large 10K you really can't fault this superb course with sweeping views over Swansea Bay. As well organised as you will ever get and a really good atmosphere." Norbert Colon

Reader Reviews

7. Zoo Stampede 10K

Where? Bedfordshire When? June

You'll be cheered on (or more likely, gazed at curiously) by some seriously hairy spectators in the Zoo Stampede 10K. Three laps of Whipsnade Zoo's flat paths mean you'll be able to get up close and personal with the exotic residents (from penguins to giraffes), as well as soak up the tranquil surrounds. And once you've crossed the finishline, gather up your supporters for a day of family fun - free entry to the zoo is included for all runners.

"This is my PB opportunity every year. Runners of every standard, glorious views, flat road course and excitable animals to take your mind of the pain." Al Langan

Reader Reviews | Enter 2010 Race

8. Fradley 10K

Where? Staffordshire When? March

This is a no-frills classic road race encompassing quiet lanes around the pretty canalside village of Fradley. Slick organisation means you only need worry about hitting your target pace, and if you're in search of a first time (rather than a fast time), there's also the option of a 2K fun run. Whichever distance you choose, you're sure to enjoy the charming rural surroundings, quiet towpaths and historic buildings - including St Stephen's Church, home of a memorial to the Australian soldiers of World War Two.

"Very good race - a terrific PB route and definitely one to do every year." Adnad

Reader Reviews | Enter 2010 Race

9. Brooklands 10K

Where? Surrey When? March

Motor racing fans should head to the historic Brooklands circuit for a super-speedy morning's racing. The course starts on the Brooklands circuit's historic Brabham Straight before heading onto the high-tech modern circuit and exploring the site's perimeter roads - all perfectly flat, of course. Once the race is over, round up your supporters to enjoy the rest of the day at Mercedes World or the Brooklands Motor Museum.

"One of the best 10K routes I've raced - it was easy to pace myself and I found the circuit's twists and turns helped rather than hindered. It was also easy to count your position as the leaders doubled back. A cracking race and I'm going back next year!" Tinx

Reader Reviews | Enter 2010 Race

Cardiff Half-Marathon

10. Cardiff Half-Marathon

Where? Cardiff When? October

It's no mystery why this big-city race has become such a success - its flat, fast road course takes runners on a tour of central Cardiff's landmarks as well as showing off Europe's largest waterfront development, Cardiff Bay. 2009 was a sell out - with 11,000 runners taking part in Wales's biggest road race - and organisers have promised 2010 will be an even brighter prospect thanks to further race-day improvements.

"Great atmosphere, great route, great race in general... this was my first competitive race and I absolutely loved every minute of it!" itseddie

Reader Reviews | 2010 Race Details

How The Results Were Calculated

This list was calculated using 2009 race ratings given by respondents on www.runnersworld.co.uk after they took part in the races. We worked out the average of the 'PB Potential' rating runners gave races, to arrive at a figure between 0 and 100%, allowing us to rank them. NB: We have only included races with at least 25 responses and where a race appeared on more than one Top 10 chart, it was only included in the chart where it had the highest ranking.


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