Tempted to try your hand (or legs) at 26.2 but reluctant to break the bank? While we’d all love to enter the Marathon Majors and run in the sun, overseas travel can cost a fortune, and many of us didn't get a place in the London Marathon ballot. Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent races taking place across the UK this year that are considerably easier to get to (and get into).
Check out our top 15 UK marathons and start training for 26.2 miles of joy (and some pain) today:
When: Sunday 7th April 2019
Lowdown: Billed as the flattest, fastest and friendliest UK marathon and held entirely on closed, main roads, The ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon is perfect for PB chasing. Finishing outside Old Trafford stadium, race day promises the crowd of a big city race but with a less jam-packed running field.
When: Sunday 14th April 2019
Lowdown: Held shortly before London with the same great crowd support plus the stunning backdrop of the sea, the Brighton Marathon is a brilliant UK marathon. And as an added bonus, afterwards weary runners can whip off their race vest and jump straight into the sea for a well-earned ice bath.
When: April 2019 (Date TBC)
Lowdown: With stunning sea views set along Llanelli's Millennium Coastal Park, this flat, traffic-free course is a glorious race and really puts Wales on the map.
When: April 2019 (Date TBC)
Lowdown: Held on Blackpool's Promenade passing all the great landmarks and tourist spots including Blackpool Tower and the pier, head over to the seaside for this fantastic coastal marathon. A flat and fast route with plenty of spots for loved ones to cheer from, the Blackpool Marathon is the perfect day out for the whole family and will be much easier on the pocket, should you decide to stick around for the weekend.
When: Sunday 29th April 2018
Lowdown: This road race starts and finishes in the city centre, near to the historical Stirling Castle. The 2018 race features a brand new route with no loops, underpasses and shuttle buses!
When: Sunday 6th May 2018
Lowdown: Known as 'The Tough One', the Three Forts Marathon covers 27 miles of the glorious South Downs. With 3450 feet of climbing and plenty of stiles and rough tracks to contend with, this exciting multi-terrain event might be a touch more challenging than your average city race, but you definitely get your money’s worth.
When: Sunday 7th May 2018
Lowdown: A speedy and scenic route taking in tree-lined boulevards, picturesque lakes, green parks and lush woodland and finishing with a victory lap of the Championship football stadium, the Milton Keynes Marathon is ideal for keen marathoners not wishing to travel too far afield to take on the mighty 26.2 miles.
When: Sunday 12th May 2018
Lowdown: Set in the picturesque Sussex countryside, the two-lap course follows a circular trail around the lake, looking onto spectacular views of the surrounding Kent countryside. With undulating woodland, open meadows and quiet country lanes, the Bewl Marathon promises to be a serene marathon adventure.
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When: Sunday 20th May 2018
Lowdown: Set in the Lake District circling Britain's largest body of water, the Brathay Windermere Marathon was voted the UK's most scenic marathon (by us) and we weren't lying. With the running field capped at 1,500, take on 26.2 at a leisurely pace surrounded by the most stunning scenery you can imagine.
When: Sunday 20th May 2018
Lowdown: With over 30 live bands en route, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool Marathon promises to be a fun-packed race around Liverpool, taking in the sights along the infamous Mersey and finishing with a party at the Albert Dock that will make you forget about transatlantic races and feel proud to live in the super cool UK.
When: Sunday 27th May 2018
Lowdown: With over 30,000 runners set to enter, Scotland's largest running festival is the perfect alternative to London. If its fast, flat route around the beautiful city of Edinburgh isn't enough to tempt you, they also offer guaranteed entry to all unsuccessful London Marathon applicants.
When: Sunday 9th September 2018
Lowdown: An event with a 34-year legacy, this multi-terrain race takes you through the heart of the New Forest National Park, taking in the local villages of Brockenhurst and Sway. The first half of the race is pretty flat, the second half is undulating, but the scenery and the atmosphere are fantastic.
When: Sunday 23rd September 2018
Lowdown: The legend of the Loch Ness Monster has attracted visitors to this fascinating part of Scotland for many years, but the cracking scenery is responsible for countless return visits. Launched in 2002, the 26.2-mile race around Scotland’s iconic Loch Ness has built a solid reputation as one of the UK’s most scenic marathons, with good reason. The route takes in breathtaking sights along the south-eastern shore, across the River Ness, and into the centre of Inverness, with a 50 grand reward for the lucky runner who spots Nessie in the inking black waters of the beautiful loch.
When: Sunday 7th October
Lowdown: This speedy route takes runners along the stunning Bournemouth coast, first heading east through Boscombe before doubling back all the way to Sandbanks. Returning to Bournemouth Pier for a buzzing finish, the fast, flat course is ideal for first-timers and PB hunters, and with a beautiful sea view to boot.
When: Sunday 14th October
Lowdown: A popular and picturesque run with fantastic PB potential, The Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon takes over 7,000 runners past some of York's most historic sites and along scenic traffic-free country lanes, making it an excellent race for runners of all abilities and a true gem of the UK.
Not your first marathon? Try this brand new 16 week marathon training plan, aimed at runners who log at least 30 miles per week. If this is your first marathon, check out our beginners marathon training plan, spread over 16 weeks.