Didn’t get a place in the London ballot? Here are 11 other awesome UK marathons

Didn’t get a place in the London Marathon ballot? Don’t worry – the good news is there’s a wealth of other marathons around the UK which are far from second best. In fact, the world’s your marathon-running oyster: you can run your 26.2 miles anywhere from the towering cliffs of Pembrokeshire to the historic cities of Liverpool and Edinburgh.

Plus, while London is known for having a fairly flat course, better still are the routes of the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon and the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon – meaning you’ll have a higher chance of smashing that PB. Or you may want to swap your terrain altogether, opting for a trail run through Northumberland or Shropshire rather than flat roads.

Whichever you choose, you won’t feel short-changed. So sack off your disappointment and sign up now to one of these 11 races to kickstart your training process. 

1/ Northumberland Coastal Marathon

Start the marathon season early with this multi-terrain race. Limited to 500 participants to protect its coastal setting, the route travels through two national nature reserves and offers a panorama of the Northumberland coast. Expect sandy beaches, rocky cliffs and a huge sense of achievement at the end. 

Date: 24th February 2018.

Entries now open. Sign up here.

2/ Brighton Marathon

Many runners rejected from London choose to tackle the nearby Brighton equivalent instead, in which 11,000 people participate. A mostly flat route (if a tad windy), this run offers scenic views of both the seafront and Brighton town.

Date: 15th April 2018

Entries reopening soon. Sign up here to register your interest before Friday 3rd November at 5pm.

3/ Greater Manchester Marathon

Not only was this voted best marathon at the 2017 Running Awards, it also boasts the title of the UK’s flattest marathon - so it’s likely no coincidence that 86% of the top 50 runners recorded a PB or season's best during this year’s event. You’ll also receive an ASICS technical shirt at the end of the race, along with a huge medal.

Date: 8th April 2018

Entries now open. Sign up here.

4/ Stirling Scottish Marathon

Half running, half sightseeing - this Scotland-based marathon is back with a totally new route this year, which starts next to Stirling Castle, crosses the Bridge of Teith and goes past the Wallace Monument (which looks like something out of Game of Thrones). There are also no loops, so it’s good if you’re a beginner who gets demotivated by seeing herds of others runners going past you in the opposite direction.

Date: 29th April 2018

Entries now open. Sign up here.

5/ May the Fourth Trail Marathon

Not the the faint-hearted, this trail marathon takes place in the Shropshire Hills over two 13.1 miles laps. Entries are limited to 200 participants – so make sure you get in there quickly. There will also be a virtual race taking place during the week of May 4th, where you can run the distance, post your Garmin or Strava link and receive a medal in the post.

Date: 4th May 2018

Entries now open. Sign up here.

6/ Milton Keynes Marathon

Known as the ‘green’ marathon (think parks and lakeside views), this is a mostly flat course thanks to organisers shaking up the route back in 2016 – sounds like definite PB material. It begins in the wide roads of the city centre, meaning there’s less congestion leaving you free to do your thing without fear of a collision.

Date: 7th May 2018

Entries now open. Sign up here.

7/ Rock N’ Roll Liverpool Marathon

Beginning in the Albert Dock - a UNESCO World Heritage site - this route is a journey through Liverpool’s rich cultural heritage, including Chinatown, Penny Lane and the two football stadiums. The route isn’t completely flat, but there are only a few moderate inclines - so first-time runners shouldn’t be put off. Plus, the numerous bands playing along the course should help to distract you. As you receive your finisher medal, you will be treated to an early afternoon concert at the end.

Date: 20th May 2018

Entries now open. Sign up here.

8/ Edinburgh Marathon

Yet another Scottish marathon, the Edinburgh run guarantees places to all those rejected from the London Marathon ballot. Taking place on the second May bank holiday weekend, the run goes through the historic heart of Edinburgh, beginning with a steep descent during the first five miles followed by a much flatter route until the finish.

Date: 27th May 2018

Entries now open. Sign up here.

9/ Oakwood Wales Marathon

Expect to run alongside 1,000 runners through the fully closed roads of Pembrokeshire, with lots of breathtaking scenery to view along the way. Be aware, however, that  it is very hilly. You can also attend a pasta party the evening  before with fellow runners at the Tenby Leisure Centre – just what your glycogen stores ordered.

Date: 15th July 2018

Entries now open. Sign up here.

10/ New Forest Marathon

This race has a real community feel – with 18 local groups, including Brownies and Army Cadets – coming out to help. It’s a scenic route and you are likely to spot the famous New Forest ponies along the way, but do be prepared for the varying terrain: while the first half of this race is flat, the second half is much more undulating – so be prepared!

Date: 9th September 2018

Early bird entries now open. Sign up here.

11/ Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon

The 7000 places for this marathon have sold out for five years in a row - so make sure you book your place quickly. Its popularity is owing to its picturesque setting through country lanes and past York’s historic sites. Plus, some say this route is flatter than the London Marathon – so there’s more chance of nailing a PB. Go go go.

Date: 14th October 2018

Entries now open. Sign up here.