New Year new you: Best races for beginners in 2016

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The New Year is traditionally a time of new beginnings, expensive gym memberships and dramatic life changes. But despite our best intentions, it’s all too easy to commit to a brand new you and then fall off the bandwagon two weeks into January. So what's the best way to stand by your good intentions? One sure-fire way to guarantee you’ll stick to your fitness goals is to enter a race! Sign up to one of these great events in the New Year and run your way into 2016.

The Lamberhurst New Year’s Day 10K

Date: 1 January 2016

Location: Lamberhurst

Lowdown: Celebrate the New Year in style with an invigorating 10K run through the quaint Kent village of Lamberhurst. The route includes the iconic Scotney Castle, a picturesque country house complete with 14th century moated castle and beautiful wooded estate. With a choice of 5K or 10K, a kids' race and goodie bags to greet you at the finish line, it’s the ideal race for beginners and veterans to celebrate the onset of 2016.

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Windsor & Eton Winter Runs

Date: 24 January 2016

Location: Dorney Lake, Windsor

Lowdown: Now in its eighth year, this flat, fast race on smooth tarmac roads and paths is 100 per cent traffic free so you can run like a bat out of hell without worrying about anything but the route ahead of you. The lap circuit around the lake also means you can keep an eye on your competitors while enjoying the lovely lakeside views with Windsor Castle in the background.

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The Gravesend Floodlit 10K series

Date: 7 January 2016

Location: Gravesend

Lowdown: If the concept of making your running debut in the dark appeals, this 10K series will be just the ticket. The good news is the course is floodlit so you won't be tripping over your own toes in the dark and the undulating course is the ideal timed and measured route to cut your racing teeth on.

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The Nice Work Bushy Park 5K series

Date: 17 January 2016

Location: Hampton, London

Lowdown: Part of the Bushy Park 10K Series, this January race is the perfect setting for a fast, flat and traffic-free Sunday morning 5K. The course covers the tracks, trails and footpaths within the park and is suitable for beginners and runners of all abilities. If that's not enough to convince you, the chip timing and finish line goodie bags should do the trick.

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Run for Chocolate 5K and 10K

Date: 20 February 2016

Location: Lake Dorney, Windsor

Lowdown: If you desperately need to get fit but love chocolate, the good news is now you can combine the two. Run for Chocolate is a run, walk or jog around a 100 per cent traffic-free loop with amazing views of Windsor Castle, finishing with a well-earned mug of hot chocolate.

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Central Lancashire 5K

Date: 21 February 2016

Location: Bolton

Lowdown: It may be a part of the central Lancashire Grand Prix, but don't let the challenging course or serious club runners in their tiny shorts put you off the central Lancashire 5K. A chip-timed event that's open to all abilities, it's the perfect first foray into racing and guaranteed to get your running off to a good start.

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Have you entered your first race in the New Year? Tweet us @RunnersWorldUK or find us on Facebook.com/RunnersWorldUK and tell us how it goes!