Long-standing races

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16/05/2013 at 17:32

We had the below letter in from a reader and it prompted discussion in the office and we are keen to hear about other long-standing races. Do you know of any?

Your excellent feature on Chris Brasher and the London Marathon prompted me to think of races that pre-date London. My own club’s 10-miler – the Maidenhead AC Easter 10 – was first run in 1953, with 98 (all male) finishers. Sixty years later, our 1,095 finishers included 375 women. How many other races share such a long history? I’d be fascinated to hear about them.

Peter Ison, Maidenhead


16/05/2013 at 19:37


I know the Bob Graham round has a long history, first completed by the man himself back in 1930s (I can't recall the exact date) and whilst not a typical "race" can be found in many race calendars under "individual attempt". Along that line many of the northern fell races have a long history too, dating back to late 1800s, Grassmere and Borrowdale spring to mind.

Outside that I'm not too sure

16/05/2013 at 19:50

Second I saw this thread I was going to suggest Maidenhead 10...but unfortunately that's what's fuelling the thread!

Epic achievement..60 years!

16/05/2013 at 20:16

I would have to vote for a race that is no longer with us, the Morpeth to Newcastle run on New Year’s Day. A race of about 14 miles it started in 1904 and it continued until 2004. Sadly the cost of policing, it was run partly on a A class road into Newcastle, became a serious issue for the host club Morpeth Harriers. I particularly remember running on the first day of the millennium and trying to get to sleep on millennium eve was impossible with fireworks going off until the early hours.

16/05/2013 at 21:41

The Hallam Chase is an annual event organised by Sheffield Running club, Hallamshire Harriers, and hosted by the Hallam Cricket Club. Race records go back to 1862, Making it the oldest continously run fell race in the World. It is open to male and female runners who are a member of a South Yorkshire running club

16/05/2013 at 22:08

The Tom Scott 10 mile race has been going since 1962

from their website: This race is run to perpetuate the memory of Tom Scott,  whose life was tragically cut short when he was fatally injured in a motor traffic accident on Friday 31st March 1961. He had been travelling south with the intention of competing in the Doncaster to Sheffield Marathon. Tom, who was 29 years of age at his death, was a very fine long distance runner from Law Village. He was a member of Motherwell YMCA Harriers Club and from 1953 to 1955 he was their club champion.

16/05/2013 at 22:08

The Dovedale Dash has been going since 1953 too. They're not up to 60 yet though because of some cancellations. I did it for the first time last year and have never been so cold in my entire life. You have to plunge through an icy river: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRy0hszUeYE

16/05/2013 at 22:25

The Edinburgh to North Berwick race has been goig since 1958, it's now a 20miler but has been longer in the past, don't know anything about the history of it though.

The Nigel Barge 10k in Glasgow has been going since 1943, Nigel Barge was killed in action in Dunkirk during World War II, he was a keen athlete and his dad was a Maryhill Harrier, the club still hold the race.

There must be loads especially as London is a relatively new race 

16/05/2013 at 23:00

There's a good list here - which reminded me of two local races - the Mitcham 25k and the London-Brighton, both of which are no longer running.

16/05/2013 at 23:04

The north downs run 30k, 30 years this June! Cracking run 

16/05/2013 at 23:23

Wedding Day 7k, just a couple of months younger than the London Marathon

16/05/2013 at 23:26

Cheese rolling has saxon pedigree don't you know. The double Gloucester at Coopers hill is very mature. Hope this gives RW Towers more food for thought in the office.

17/05/2013 at 02:56

Finchley 20m - began in 1933

Boston mara - 1897

Comrades - 1921

17/05/2013 at 07:56
literatin wrote (see)

The Dovedale Dash has been going since 1953 too. They're not up to 60 yet though because of some cancellations. I did it for the first time last year and have never been so cold in my entire life. You have to plunge through an icy river: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRy0hszUeYE

I think the Maidenhead 10 missed a year once due to the Foot and Mouth Outbreak...killed the streak a bit!

17/05/2013 at 08:45

Saltwell Harriers 10K History lays claim to be the oldest race in England being held since 1911 - though the course and distance has changed a bit.  Won 16 times in a row by a certain Mike Mcleod with some quite good times on a demanding course!!!!

17/05/2013 at 09:22

The South of the Thames Cross Country - 1888

The English National Cross country were first held in 1876

North of the Thames Cross Country 1894, .

All still going strong

17/05/2013 at 09:31

As Poacher has already mentioned above.......Comrades Marathon (1921) in South Africa. I came across this race quite accidentally at a London Marathon Expo about 8 years ago and it's always been a dream to run it.........I'll be finally living this dream in 2 weeks time. It's strange going from running a marathon with mind focused on time and a PB, to running an Ultra, where just finishing in the time limit is the goal.

17/05/2013 at 09:50

I think a lot of the fell races have been going longer.
Ben Nevis started in about 1950 and I'm sure Braemar and Grasmere go back to the 19th century - although I don't know if they have been run every year.
Probably quite a few others (including Bob Graham)

17/05/2013 at 10:18

the Nos Galan 5k race held every New Years Eve in Mountain Ash in South Wales started in 1958, stopped in 1972, and then restarted in 1984

so, not continuous but been around for a good while

17/05/2013 at 11:06

Thanks for all the positive replies, it's great to see so many long standing and great runs still going strong. We'll have to come and run some of them too! 

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