London Peace Run 5K (Greenwich Park, September 9)
With its lush leafy landscapes and sweeping views across the River Thames, London's oldest enclosed Royal Park offers both tourists and locals a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. What better location then, for this inaugural awareness-raising fixture, held in association with The Week of Peace, a seven-day itinerary of events promoting community cohesion and safety across the capital. Participation, rather than competition, is the order of the day, with both beginner runners and family groups guaranteed a warm welcome. Don't expect the course to compare with your average stroll in the park though - a challenging climb towards the old Royal Observatory is sure to make you call on extra reserves.
Quicksand 15 (Kent, September 16)
If you like your off-road events more pleasant than punishing, then you might want to think twice before entering this out-and-back multistage beach race. Aside from a few road and track stretches, the 15-mile course is run on varying consistencies of sand which, combined with strong coastal winds, one small cliff climb and a hundred-odd steps at the turnaround point make for a more gutsy opponent than your average coastal fixture.
Sea tides dictate a tough three-hour cut-off time, though organisers promise runners won't be pulled from the course after this deadline. Instead, they'll be redirected onto the tarmac promenade to complete the race, ensuring they earn their finishers' T-shirt and share in the post-race glow that is part and parcel of such a biting challenge.
Diss 15 (Norfolk, September 23)
Lying within the beautiful Waveney Valley, the historic town of Diss can also lay claim to hosting the oldest road race in Norfolk. Run along quiet country lanes with just a few gentle undulations, its two-lap course offers competitors both a worthy-yet-doable 7.5-mile option (ideal for those making the step up from 10K) and the more challenging 15-mile distance. Its relatively small field – a mere 100 competitors turned out to support the event last year – does lend the fixture a somewhat solitary feel in places, but encouraging marshals, charming environs and a quintessentially local flavour are qualities enough to safeguard this event's future for many years to come.