UK Marathon Calendar 2004

When it comes to UK marathons in 2004, you're spoilt for choice

Posted: 13 February 2004
by Marguerite Lazell

We UK runners are lucky to have one of the world’s biggest and fastest 26.2-mile races right on our doorstep.

But we’re even more lucky to have some of the world’s friendliest, prettiest, toughest and even smallest marathons, too. And to help you find the race to suit you, we’ve put together a list of all of the marathons taking place in Britain in 2004. This year’s diary is correct at the time of going to press (February), but some of the details may be subject to change, so keep an eye on our Race Diary for any alterations.

When is it? What is it? Run this if you like...
March 7 The Steyning Stinger, Sussex Running up and down hills; tramping through the mud; jumping over gates; fantastic views over the South Downs.
March 13 Flame Health 2 Days, Worcs Two marathons in as many days; evening meal and accommodation provided; talks and advice from previous competitors
March 21 Duchy Marathon, Cornwall Cornish sea views; Cornish pasties – every runner gets one. For those in training for Flora London Marathon, there is an option to drop out at the 20-mile point
March 27 Bath Beat, Somerset Rural, undulating courses; races primarily for walkers
April 4 Taunton Marathon, Somerset Rural alternatives to the Flora London Marathon; value for money; fantastic organisation; friendly runners
April 4 Bungay Black Dog Marathon, Suffolk Flat, riverside courses; being scared by local ghost stories; events with a post-race beer tent
April 18 Flora London Marathon Crowds; atmosphere; fancy dress; trying to get on TV; boasting that you got in
April 18 Tresco Marathon, Cornwall Eschewing the crowds and hoopla of the Flora London Marathon; one of the smallest marathons in the world, with a limit of 125 competitors; running laps (the island is only two miles across)
April 25 Shakespeare Marathon, Staffs Afternoon starts; big-race atmosphere; Aston Villa (Dion Dublin will be starting the race)
April 25 Lochaber Marathon, Fort William Scottish mountain scenery; flat, out-and-back courses – despite nestling below Ben Nevis!
May 2 Three Forts Marathon, Sussex Tough courses with 3450ft of climbing; running off-road and finding your own way round (there are no marshals); small fields – there were only 78 runners last year
May 2 Neolithic Marathon, Wilts Racing point-to-point; undulating but scenic cross-country trails; druidry – you’ll pass Stonehenge
May 2 Falcon Flyer, North Yorks Running through dense forest; the moors; 12-hour time limits
May 2 Rotary Heritage Coast Marathon Walk/Run, Suffolk Seeing the sea; English coastal landscapes; running on undulating trails; bringing the family along to join in
May 3 Belfast City Marathon, Northern Ireland City-centre races; pasta parties with traditional Irish dancing
May 8 Caythorpe Canter, Lincs A 12- or 26-mile challenge for walkers and runners; undulating courses
May 9 Isle Of Wight Marathon, Ryde Tradition – this is Britain’s longest continuously run marathon; hills; sea breezes; bargain race entries
May 16 Halstead Marathon, Suffolk Running along country lanes; friendly runners – there will be a group of 4:30 marathoners meeting up at the start to run together
May 22 White Peak Marathon, Derbys Traffic-free, off-road, point-to-point racing; steep downhill finishes

When is it? What is it? Run this if you like...
June 5 Wharfedale Off-Road Marathon, North Yorks 2500ft off-road ascent; navigating along the Pennine Way; tea and biscuits at the checkpoints; free food and drink at the finish
June 6 Lake Vyrnwy Marathon, Wales Getting a personal best in a wonderful, scenic location
June 13 Dartmoor Vale Marathon, Devon Scenic country lanes; a friendly, community-event atmosphere; horse-racing – the race starts and finishes around the Newton Abbot racecourse
June 13 Edinburgh Marathon, Scotland Early starts; haggis at the pre-race pasta party
June 20 Stoke On Trent City Marathon, Staffs ‘The longest fun run in Britain’; big hills at 20 miles; enthusiastic support from the local spectators
June 20 Blackpool Flyde Coast Marathon, Lancs Super-fast, traffic-free courses; lots of crowd support; sea air; post-race roller coasters, towers and sandcastle-building
July 11 Rottingdean Windmill Walks & Marathon, Sussex Trail events; reading maps to navigate; under-cliff scenery!
July 18 Fairland Valley Challenge Marathon, Herts Finding new parts of Hertfordshire; multi-terrain courses; following instructions and reading maps to navigate; great post-race grub – especially barbecues and bread pudding!
August 15 Isle Of Man Marathon Quiet country lanes and marvellous scenery; small, friendly races; post-race massages and buffets
August 24 Great Langdale Marathon, Cumbria Steep hills; breathtaking scenery; lakes; more hills. (Described by Ron Hill as one of the hardest marathons in the world.)
August 29 Moray Marathon, Scotland Uncomplicated, gently undulating races; Scottish coastal views; dolphin and whale watching en route.

Autumn & Winter
When is it? What is it? Run this if you like...
September 5 Carver Wolverhampton Marathon, Staffs Fast courses with gentle climbs and a mix of town and country; friendly crowds; good weather – it’s usually blessed with warm September sunshine
September 5 Kent Coastal Marathon, Kent Traffic-free, flat courses; coastal scenery
September 12 Experian Robin Hood Marathon, Notts A mix of hilly town and flat rural running; negative splits; the carnival atmosphere of a 10,000-plus runner start; nightlife – Nottingham’s is legendary
September 12 Yorkshireman Off-Road Marathon, Yorks Demanding off-road courses; entering team events
September 19 New Forest Marathon, Hants Gently undulating, quiet forest roads; New Forest ponies; pre-race family fêtes
October 3 Baxter's Loch Ness Marathon, Scotland Bagpipes and Highland music en route; stadium finishes; point-to-point races; moorland scenery; Nessie-spotting
October 3 Clarendon Way Marathon, Hants Hills; stiles; multi-terrain, point-to-point racing; following the Pilgrim’s Way; cathedral cities
October 10 Kingston Running Festival, Surrey Flat races; running along the river – it uses the Thames Towpath; historic palaces – you pass Hampton Court; shopping after running
October 17 Abingdon Marathon, Oxon Late season PBs on a flat, scenic rural course; helpful marshals; cheering crowds; meeting RUNNER’S WORLD forumites!
October 23 Beachy Head Marathon, Sussex 3500ft of South Downs ascents; windy, muddy, tough courses; cattle- and sheep-dodging; pub stops along the way; free swimming and hot food at the finish
October 31 The National Trust Snowdonia Marathon, Wales Tough marathons in spectacular settings with huge hills and unpredictable weather
November 21 Everards Leicester Marathon, Leics Undulating races; pre and post-race massages; hot food served at the finish
December 5 Luton Marathon, Beds Fast, flat, multiple-lap courses; getting one last big race in before Christmas

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RW's Races Of The Year 2003

marathon raceday, marathon calendar

Discuss this article

RW This is extremely unreasonable of you
STOP TEMPTING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 10:18


How many have you signed up for then?
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 10:20

not many
luckily the on call limits me

actaully enterted this year?
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 10:27

The MOB lite 2 dayer on the 2nd weekend of March is the most tempting one out of that lot.

Posted: 19/02/2004 at 10:39

Hmmm, after Thanet and Abingdo last year I decided to give up on marathons, however having got into London and now seen this article I am tempted to speak with the divorce lawyers after all... Not by choice I hasten to add!
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 13:10

cant afford that one
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 13:10

NO MORE for this year EP, have a look at the schedule for 2005?

Very very unlikely that I will do Abingdon again. The traffic was a nightmare and was realy the finishing touch for me.

See what happens at London and I'll go from there. Robin Hood looks interesting as does Duchy, Three Forts (this one sounds up your street EP!), Neolithic, Kent, Beachy Head, Snowdonia, Jungfrua, Disney, New York, China, erh and I am not going to do any more marathons!!!!!
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 14:04

I was hoping to do my 10th marathon this year but with the cancellation of both Leeds and Sheffield I'm struggling to find one that is near enough to my home in Halifax.
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 14:07

oooooh IW which one?

not interested, not at all
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 17:24

Go on Evil - you know you can do it - you know you want to do it

AND I KNOW YOU WILL DO IT (whispers was that loud enough?)
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 18:36

*Yawn* a UK Marathon? I am thinking of Maratona da Cidade de Rio de Janeiro :)
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 19:09

When i have tried all the Uk marathons
THEN i may yawn

unfortunately some i wil have to do again
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 21:29

Hippo are you doing White Peak?
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 21:36


icant really
im too slow:((((((((
Am trying to get in to do a local ultra tho-too slow for that as well really
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 21:43

I thought you'd be ok with the new cut off point?
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 21:46

well, for a half yes

but i certainly cant do a mara in 4 and a half
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 21:47

The cut off is now 10 miles in 2 hours.
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 21:49

Oh dear.

I'm in for the Duchy marathon this year (in Redruth, Cornwall). Not going to do FLM again, too crowded.

The one I really want to do in the UK is the Isle of Man. Abroad - the Moscow marathon. If I can wangle a business trip ...
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 21:54

Posted: 19/02/2004 at 21:57

What did I do?! Just making sure you had the right information with which to make an informed decision, that's all!!

Muttley, agree about FLM. White Peak, 200 runners, bliss.
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 22:03

Ill be last again

mind you, it wasnt so bad last time
Posted: 19/02/2004 at 22:07

This year is going to be a bit lacking in marathons for me.
The one I really wanted to do-Sheffield-isn't on. It would have been the tenth anniversary of my first marathon-at Shefield.
Potteries will have to mark the occasion instead.
Ashley, I really didn't notice traffic at Abingdon last year.
Potteries may be the only marathon I do this year.
Posted: 20/02/2004 at 06:00

Oh for goodness sake! What are you trying to do to me??

After FLM in 2002 I said "Never again". Then got a place in the lottery for 2003.....

I was so gutted when I had to pull out becuase of injury, I entered New York.

At mile 19 in New York I swore "Never EVER again". Then remembered my automatic entry to FLM 2004.....

And I have just entered the lottery for NYC 2004.....

And I think the White Peak and Isle of Man marathons are tempting....

And I've kind-of said I do Loch Ness next year......

My boyfrien will leave me.

If I don't die first.
Posted: 20/02/2004 at 08:25

After (I hope) successfully completing my third FLM this year, I was wondering about what I should have as my next challenge. Doing two marathons in one year is a possibility - any recommendations?
Posted: 20/02/2004 at 09:05

My time on the last two has been about 5:30 so I don't want one that only attracts speed merchants!
Posted: 20/02/2004 at 09:07

To those who have mentioned it, I recommend the Isle of Man marathon. I was hoping to do it last year but hadn't done enough training so did the half instead (marathon is basically two laps). Lovely views of sea and hills. It was in the middle of the heatwave but thankfully that day started with a light shower and remained bearable. I even got a shield for being second lady in 45-49 age group!

This year I hope to do the marathon - it will be a day after my fifitieth and if I get a sub 4:00 I think I qualify for a gauranteed place in the London marathon 2005, hoorah!
Posted: 20/02/2004 at 19:40

Kit kat

Posted: 20/02/2004 at 19:43

Two marathons in one year?
Hmm...Abingdon was good for the backmarkers and the course isn't very demanding (ie flat!)
Or some of the off road events, which tend to be slower anyway. They have a very relaxed and enjoyable feel to them I think.
I don't do too many cos I tend to get lost though.
Posted: 20/02/2004 at 21:12

I've made up my mind which ones I want to do - and only one of them is in the UK!


That's after doing Rotterdam (and possibly Florence) this year.
Posted: 21/02/2004 at 08:37


Apparently New Forest is lovely
But i Havent done it
Posted: 21/02/2004 at 08:38

I'm thinking of doing Abingdon as my first marathon...
Posted: 22/02/2004 at 07:25

Nice one norma
Posted: 22/02/2004 at 08:55

Excellent choice.
Posted: 22/02/2004 at 09:18

OMG - I've done it, I've entered Abingdon.

Not sure I like this online entry thing!
Posted: 22/02/2004 at 11:25

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

Abingdon looks good and I spotted a few URWFRC runners at the back of the pack when I checked last year's results. During yesterday's 15 miler I was seriously thinking of never running again, though.

TR - I like the idea of an off-road race, but need to improve my navigation skills first!

Venice marathon is a long-term aim - very flat and also (they say) downhill. And I know a good restaurant for a celebration meal...... Next year, maybe.

Oh dear. I seem to be developing a habit.

Posted: 22/02/2004 at 11:51

I am going to enter one marathon at a time so its Lochaber so far this year. Isle of Man sounds interesting and flights are fairly cheap from Glasgow, but is it not a bit hot in August?

Abingdon is good and Kit Kat I am one of the back packers in the results from last year.

Posted: 22/02/2004 at 11:59

Jane M -
The IoM marathon course is in the flat North of the island, starting along the seafront in Ramsey. It's unusual for it to be very hot, last year was an exception and it was certainly not as hot and muggy as on the mainland.

Anyone else doing Belfast or Edinburgh? I hope to do Cardiff and Dublin too, later in the year - a sort of capital cities thing.

(On a more mundane note, I can't seem to upload a picture of myself even though it's < 12kb.)
Posted: 22/02/2004 at 13:11

I have entered the Inverness marathon in October. All acounts say this is a brilliant race.
Posted: 22/02/2004 at 21:15

hmmmm.....i was thinking about doing New Forest but Abingdon keeps being mentioned...............

decisions, decisions!
Posted: 22/02/2004 at 21:22

Do both, they're not on the same day are they?
Posted: 22/02/2004 at 22:13

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