A Race in the Sun

If the thought of the long, cold British winter ahead is enough to dampen your spirits, then it's time for you to sample the joys of winter racing in the sun. Jet off with your trainers and you can explore some of the world's most exotic locations at speed. Pick the event that's right for you - and train smart on your holiday - with our guide.

Cyprus International 4-Day Challenge

Head to Cyprus for a dose of winter warmth - and four very different races. Whether you travel in style with 2:09 Events or book your own accommodation, you'll be part of a welcoming and sociable group of runners taking on this tough challenge.

Kick off with a 6K time trial through banana plantations, before pulling on your trail shoes for eleven punishing kilometres through the Akamas. The second day's course twists up seemingly never-ending rocky paths to finish in a charming village atop the hills.

An afternoon's respite by the pool and you'll be ready for the half-marathon. The stunning course hugs the island's dramatic hillsides, before a fast descent to finish on a sandy beach - and a chance to soothe aching knees in the sea.

The final race is a flat road 10K through Paphos, complete with grand quayside finish by the castle. With a hefty Cyprus-shaped medal round your neck - and a cold local beer in your hand - you'll feel like a champion.

An infectious atmosphere sets the Cyprus International 4-Day Challenge apart - passionate race organisers, cheery expat volunteers and runners (many of whom return year after year) who are clearly having a ball.

When is it? 25-28 November

Where is it? Paphos, Cyprus

How do I enter? www.cypruschallenge.com

Volcano Half-Marathon

Explore the lush, green island of Montserratt in this hilly half-marathon. In 1995 the Soufriere Hills volcano erupted for the first time since the 17th century, destroying the capital Plymouth and causing three-quarters of residents to flee.

You'll see how the island has recovered as you pass through the new town centre of Little Bay, see the volcanic rubble still covering the Belham River Valley and soak up spectacular sea-views of neighbouring Antigua and Guadeloupe in this challenging event.

Back for its second year, the stunning backdrop of the still smoking volcano and a medal made from volcanic material will provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  

When is it? 27 November

Where is it? Montserratt, Caribbean

How do I enter? www.volcanorunner.com

Watch out for a race report in our February 2011 issue.

Reggae Marathon and Half-Marathon

The sun is shining and the running is easy in this popular Jamaican jaunt which combines spectacular scenery with top-notch reggae tunes. Jamaica celebrates the race's ten-year anniversary in 2010 complete with a pasta party the evening before and even larger crowds at the race day bash on Long Bay Beach.

Marathon and Half-Marathon entrants alike spend their first seven miles winding along a stunning white sand beach before heading to the laid-back town of Negril. Full marathoners then explore the sleepy town of Green Island before rejoining the beachside bonanza.

With reggae music pumping out at each mile marker, a flat course and iced towel wraps to keep you cool, this is one race not to miss.

Date: December 4

Place: Negril, Jamaica

How do I enter: reggaemarathon.com/

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Singapore Marathon and Relay

Wake up extra-early to explore the bustling city-state of Singapore - this speedy marathon starts at 5am.

It may be one of the world's leading business centres, but Singapore's charming parks give it a well-deserved reputation as a Garden City.

The superbly organised race traverses the vast East Coast Park and its scenic sea views, as well as passing iconic sights including the Singapore Flyer and the stunning Esplanade.

If you can persuade friends to join you for a mini-break, you can also enter as a six-member relay team inspired by the Japanese Ekiden race.

When is it? December 5

Where is it? Singapore

How do I enter? marathonsingapore.com

Dubai Marathon

A killer combination of stunning beaches and five star resorts have made Dubai one of the most popular holiday destinations for Brits in recent years. You'll enjoy Dubai's beaches and luxury restaurants even more after taking on the fast and furious Dubai Marathon.

Following a clockwise circuit of the Jumeriah Beach Road runners take in some of the city's most famous landmarks including the Palm, Madinat Jumeriah and the Burj Al Arab. Even the heat can't put you off - the 7am start time ensures you'll be racing at a refreshing 10-15 degrees C, and the well-organised route boasts numerous stations with water, isotonic drinks and sponges.

Given its ultra-quick route you can expect to see a few famous faces at the Dubai Marathon, if only on the winner's podium - Haile Gebrselassie won the 2010 event.

When is it? January 21

Where is it? Dubai, United Arab Emirates

How do I enter? dubaimarathon.org

Marrakech Marathon and Half-Marathon

Thousands of runners descend every year upon Morocco's magical capital to take part in one of the world's fastest marathons. The race's beautiful and tantalizingly flat circuit takes in the pretty olive and orange trees of the Menera Gardens, the historic ramparts of the Medina and near-constant views of the snow-covered Atlas Mountains.

With an average temperature of 20 degrees, and water stations and sponges every 5K a PB should be well within reach.

Afterwards, enjoy a long weekend exploring the busy souks and delicious cuisine of this exotic city.

When is it? January 30

Where is it? Marrakech, Morocco

How do I enter? marathon-marrakech.com

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