Asics Kingston Breakfast Run, April 1
Filling up fast
Asics 16 Mile Kingston Breakfast Run (Surrey, April 1)
Despite the early start, more than 3,000 runners have already signed up for this flat, fast race run along the banks of the river Thames from Kingston’s historic marketplace to Hampton Court Palace.
Sheffield Half-Marathon (South Yorkshire, May 20)
Feel like an elite athlete in this urban half, which boasts a stadium start and finish, an out-and-back city-centre course and great PB potential.
Leeds 10K - Jane Tomlinson's "Run For All" (June 24)
An exciting new city 10K, taking in all of Leeds’ iconic landmarks, and sure to be a major charity fundraiser.
The Dentdale Run (Cumbria, March 10)
Both a great build-up race for a spring marathon and a challenging event in its own right, this hilly 14-miler starts and ends in that corner of the Yorkshire Dales National Park that is actually in Cumbria. Now in its 23rd year, the race attracts several hundred runners each year, who take on a figure-of-eight course that quite literally leads the field up hill and down dale. Although not one for the faint-hearted, first-timers needn’t be discouraged: RW readers frequently praise the camaraderie surrounding this event, from the friendly, supportive locals to the post-finish cake spread.
Rhayader "Round the Lakes" 20 (Powys, March 17)
Rhayader "Round the Lakes" 20, March 17
Every runner faces mental as well as physical tests on the way to reaching their marathon goal, and events like “Round the Lakes” prove great preparation. Held in the glorious location of the Elan Valley, the course opens with two laps of the small market town before climbing 800ft over 4.5 miles and circling the three lakes – Garrad Ddu, Graig Goch and Pen-y-Garreg – offering spectacular mountain scenery along the way. The race boasts a loyal following, with some competitors even undertaking a 400-mile round trip to attend the event. Such dedication to a locally-organised race speaks volumes about the emotional and inspirational experience this challenge offers.
More 20-mile highlights...
Afford Rent-a-Car Stafford 20 (Staffordshire, March 11)
Ashby 20 (Leicestershire, March 18)
Finchley 20 (Middlesex, March 18)
Liverpool Half-Marathon (Liverpool, March 25)
Liverpool Half-Marathon, March 25
Despite the Flora London Marathon ending its association with the event last year, the Liverpool Half-Marathon is alive and kicking. Starting within the tranquil environs of Sefton Park, runners then dart through the city outskirts, past Britain’s largest Anglican Cathedral and the city’s colourful China Town, before doubling back for a long, mildly undulating parkland loop. With enforced course changes cutting out the city-centre element, the 2007 crowds may not be as large as in previous years, but with more than 2,500 RW members signed up already and an enthusiastic forum buzz surrounding the event, its reputation as a top-notch Northern half-marathon holds strong.
More Half-Marathon highlights...
Newton's Fraction Half-Marathon (Lincolnshire, March 11)
Broadland Half-Marathon (Norfolk, March 25)
Stafford Half-Marathon (Staffordshire, March 25)
The Equity Insurance Group Brentwood Half-Marathon (Essex, March 25)
Wilkinson Ackworth Half-Marathon (West Yorkshire, February 25)
Bungay Black Dog Marathon (Bedfordshire, April 1)
One of East Anglia’s longest-standing marathons celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and its 2007 staging promises to be one of the best yet. Starting from a new venue boasting a full range of facilities, the route loops round the Waveney Valley between Bungay and Beccles, taking in some testing hills in the opening miles. Marathon entrants will face this challenge twice, since the full 26.2 mile comprises two laps of the elliptical course. Keen competition is expected since the race plays host to the 2007 Suffolk Championships, but if you’re hoping for a PB, prepare yourself for windy conditions – even on still days, the exposed rural route can be fairly tough going.
Oakley 20 (Bedfordshire, April 1)
Oakley 20, April 1
Another great pre-marathon workout, this undulating, rural race runs through the pretty chocolate-box villages of Bedfordshire, and is often praised for its seasonal scenery, most notably the daffodil spreads and frolicking lambs. Now in its fifth year, 850 competitors are expected to line up at the start for this two-lap course, keen to complete the full distance before the four-hour cut-off. RW readers may lament the housing estate finish, but the promise of post-race massage, hot refreshments and a souvenir sweatshirt are sure to pull them through the final miles.
Not running a marathon this spring? For all you short-race specialists and beginners out there, here are three 10K races with historical connections.
Sherborne Castles Rotary 10K (Dorset, March 18)
Follow in the footsteps of the Ironman competitors in this challenging multi-terrain 10K, set in the grounds of Sherborne Castle. Originally designed by Sir Walter Raleigh, the estate gardens were later flooded by “Capability” Brown to create a 50-acre lake, forming a beautiful backdrop for this rural race. A few tough inclines and the course’s mud-fest potential are more than outweighed by this stunning scenery. Of course, if you don’t fancy the full 10K, you can always make the most of the 5K or 1,500m fun-run options.
City of Lincoln 10K (Lincolnshire, March 25)
Lincoln’s biggest road race enters its eleventh year, and promises to be just as popular as ever, with a field of around 4,000 expected to line up at the Longdales Road start. Comprising one lap of the city’s historical precincts, the race route incorporates Lincoln’s renowned Roman Mile Prime (whose Latin definition reads, quite literally, “a thousand paces”), and passes the imposing Cathedral, home to one of the few extant copies of the Magna Carta. A regal finish in the grounds of Lincoln’s Norman Castle, once home to William the Conqueror, completes the course.
Sevenoaks Rotary Knole Park 10K (Kent, March 25)
Join in the first running of this off-road 10K set in the magnificent Knole Park, one of the few deer-parks in England to have survived the past 500 years and the only one in Kent. Despite losing 70 per cent of its trees to the Great Storm in 1987, major replantation, together with an 800-strong herd of fallow and sika deer, has helped Knole maintain its reputation as a popular National Trust attraction. It provides a great backdrop for this inaugural charity fundraiser.
More 10K highlights...
Dronfield 10K (Derbyshire, March 11)
Fradley 10K (Staffordshire, March 11)
Wimbledon Audi 10K in support of NSPCC (London, March 11)
Frimley Park 10K (Surrey, March 18)
Thorney 10K (Cambridgeshire, March 25)
Wakefield Hospice City 10K (West Yorkshire, March 25)