Whatever success, or not, our elite endurance runners currently enjoy, there is no question that Britain has a thriving and healthy racing scene. On any given weekend, you can find up to 60 road races around the country, and there are more than 2500 throughout the year. Those races take in every major city and large sections of the countryside around them. They range from televised major national events, such as the Great North Run, to more modest affairs that would be delighted with a field of 100 runners.
Over the past year the staff and correspondents of RUNNERS WORLD have spent most of their weekends travelling to a huge number of these events. Those travels, together with informal surveys of competitors and other reader feedback, provide the knowledge that sits behind this list of Britains best road races (and a couple from Eire).
As ever, any such assessment is a matter of opinion if you disagree with this opinion, we would be delighted to hear from you but we have tried to use an objective set of criteria to judge every race. Each race has been marked out of 1000 (the number you will see after the race in the list). There were 200 points available for organisation and quality of course and 100 each for atmosphere, potential for fast times, facilities, standard of competition, uniqueness and value for money. Last years position, if any, is listed in brackets, and future dates are given if known.
Although a number of important races, such as the Wilmslow and Reading half-marathons, were cancelled in 2001 due to foot and mouth restrictions, the standard was still high. To acknowledge this, we have expanded our overall list from the top 50 to the top 100 and also included individual listings for all the major race distances. The times you will see on the distance lists are for the mens and womens winners, which provide some insight into the overall quality of the field.
We've arranged the top 100 races by category: