(nationwide dates and venues in 2007)
Runners are notoriously dogged individuals, and the Cani-Cross series of races let them demonstrate that literally. Whether your four-legged friend is a dachshund or a doberman, you can run together over a range of distances, from 21K or the shorter 6.5K in Wiltshire, to 5Ks and 2.5Ks on September 2 in Devon’s Haldon Forest, Kent’s Hop Farm Country Park on September 23 and Nottingham’s Sherwood Forest on November 4.
And pets mean prizes – winners in the different classes are rewarded with a year’s supply of dog food worth more than £420.
Keep Your Eye on The Ball 5K June 3 2007
(London, June 3)
Torquay United beat Tottenham. That’s a headline you probably thought you’d never see, but it could well happen at this men-only event organised by the male cancer charity Everyman with The Football Association and The Professional Footballers Association.
To raise money for research into prostate and testicular cancer, you can run as an individual or in teams on behalf of your club – so, as in the FA Cup, League Two clubs can challenge Premiership clubs, the winning team being the one with the fastest average time.
Pitch it right and the fast, flat multi-lap trail course round Victoria Park in London’s East End could see you score a PB as well as net some striking autographs from the pros who (injuries permitting) will line up for this friendly fixture.
Rubery Crumble 10 & 5
(Worcestershire, June 17)
Carb-loading with bowls of rhubarb crumble might be a wise precaution before you attempt this Worcestershire race as it’s likely to leave you with jelly legs. It may be only five miles, but they take you up and down some hefty hills that the organisers warn are "tough" and "challenging". Gluttons for punishment can subject themselves to the two-lap course by entering the Rubery Rumble instead.
Leeds 10K 'Run for All' June 24 2007 (West Yorkshire, June 24)
Few of us can hope to notch up as many half-marathons, marathons, triathlons and Iron Mans as Jane Tomlinson – "a formidable athletic legacy" according to Paula Radcliffe – but we can at least now join her in a brand-new event designed to be as welcoming as possible to people of all abilities. Her Leeds 10K 'Run for All' on 24 June will see thousands of runners, walkers and wheelchair racers (including Tanni Grey-Thompson) zipping through Leeds as part of its 800th anniversary celebrations.
The city will be swinging with a carnival atmosphere as you pass landmarks such as the Corn Exchange and Town Hall, and to add to the feel-good factor you’ll be able to help Jane boost the £4.1 million she has already raised for charity despite battling incurable cancer.
Rothiemurchus Forest 12K June 24 2007
(Glamorgan, April 1)
You may well achieve a PB at this new event in the Scottish Highlands near Aviemore, as it’s a fairly flat, fast course with no killer hills – but you might have to wear blinkers to stop yourself being distracted by the stunning scenery. Which would be a shame, as it’s easy to see why the organisers claim it’s Britain’s Most Beautiful Run.
The route travels along both track and rough trail before arriving at a small cottage at just under 3K. Shortly after, you’ll arrive at the spectacular Loch An Eilein, whose shores you hug for a further 6K with the views changing with every step and red squirrels scampering by your side in the Caledonian pine forests.
On leaving the loch you head for the finish through the Cairn Valley. Then you can celebrate at the Outsider Festival, of which the race is a key part, joining in a host of outdoor activities or listening to KT Tunstall, Crowded House and some 30 other bands.
Great Capital Run 10K
(London, July 15)
London could hardly be expected to take the success of the Great North Run, Great South Run and Great Edinburgh Run lying down, and this year it launches its own contender for greatness – the Great Capital Run. Whether you run, jog or walk, you’ll be able to line up with thousands of others on 15 July to complete a single lap of a festive Hyde Park.
The event is in aid of Capital Radio’s Help a London Child appeal and several DJs are likely to mix with the masses, not to mention Myleene Klass, Duaine Ladejo and Penny Lancaster.
Mugs Game 5 July 21 2007
(Hants, July 21)
This sounds like everyone’s cup of tea. It’s a five-mile outing twice round the Itchen Valley Country Park in Hampshire at 6pm on a midsummer evening – the perfect way to round off a day of family fun at an old-fashioned fair complete with coconut shies and tombola stalls. Organised by Dave King, who’s running around Britain in 80 races this year (see January’s RUNNER’S WORLD), it’s also a great way to help raise funds for the Hampshire Autistic Society.
Sandhurst Poppyhill Off-Road Endurance Duathlon
(Surrey, October 13)
For the princely sum of £28 you can follow in the footsteps of William and Harry on this challenging duathlon, though you might experience a different kind of passing out if you’re not fighting fit.
Your objective is to cover an 8K mountain-bike loop on fast pine forest trails then a 7K run through broadleaf forest and over steep hills and narrow tracks inside the Poppy Hill Gate, an area of the military academy’s training grounds usually off limits to civilians. Easy? Not when you have to repeat this circuit as many times as you can in the four-hour limit.