Filling Up Fast…
OK, so these events might be weeks away, but you'll need to get in early if you want to get your mitts on a place...
Not the Roman IX (Warwickshire, January 18)
The replacement for the popular Roman 9, this 12K road race through the rolling hills of Warwickshire has a final descent to smile about.
Folksworth 15 (Cambridgeshire, January 18)
This UK Athletics bronze-graded road race sends runners to the top of Cambridgeshire's biggest hill, rewarding runners with views over the rest of the county.
Wokingham Half-Marathon (Berkshire, February 8)
This fast, flat road race - now with chip timing - could edge you to your next PB. Watch out for a slight change to the course.
London Santa Run 6K (London, December 6)
Returning for its third year is the London Santa Run 6K, with up to 2,500 fancy-dress-clad runners raising money for the charity Disability Snowsport.
Get into the Christmas spirit with a few laps of the peaceful traffic-free surrounds of Battersea Park. Last year's entrants enjoyed not only the complimentary Santa suit, but also a quality medal and helpful timing chips – though the bulky costume might hinder chances of a PB!
More festive highlights...
Swanley Christmas Caper 4.2 Kent, December 7)
Ulverston Christmas Pudding 10K (Cumbria, December 7)
Kent Christmas Cracker (Kent, December 13)
Believe & Achieve Santa Fun Run (Hampshire, December 14)
Inverclyde Santa Dash 5K (Inverclyde, December 14)
Christmas Pudding Dash 5 (East Sussex, December 20)
Thompson Brothers Stockport 10 (Cheshire, December 7)
This 10-mile run is UK Athletics 'gold' graded, and regularly sells out to its 800-competitor capacity. With a stadium start and finish at the home of the Stockport Harriers, this testing one-lap road race is notoriously 'undulating', with first-time runners surprised by the two hills' twists, turns and false summits.
Something else that draws runners from around the country to the Stockport 10 is its famously eccentric goody bag, which last year featured a hat with 'Stockport' emblazoned across the front, a water bomb, balloons, cocktail stirrers, a calendar, a milkshake and a sticker saying 'I've done the Stockport 10, Give us a Kiss'. Who could resist?
Bedford Harriers Half-Marathon (Bedfordshire, December 14)
Last year's rain, sleet and hail won't deter people from coming back for more – join 2,000 other runners for the last half-marathon of 2008. The out-and-back route tours the Bedfordshire countryside on country roads, and you'll be rewarded for sticking it out past the hilly middle section: the last couple of miles of this race head downhill, making PBs a distinct possibility.
Competitors set off to the voices of carol singers, and can look forward to 'Jutta's World Famous Bacon Rolls', 'Zoe's Recover Faster Bread Pudding' and a memento sweatshirt.
You can also grab a welcome hot shower at race HQ – a local school – before you head home.
Staffordshire Moorlands Xmas Cracker 8 (Staffordshire, December 21)
This popular race is now in its 24th year and famed as much for the heights of its fancy-dress standards as it is for its hilly course.
The Cracker's testing eight-mile course takes in the Roaches – gritstone crags – as well as road and moorland sections in stunning rural Staffordshire. You might want to work a pair of trail shoes into your costume!
Enter in advance to give yourself time to compete with the regulars on the costume front. Last year saw a fancy-dress hunt, complete with foxes, hounds, riders and hobby horses, in addition to the usual seasonal snowmen and Santas. There are prizes for individual and team fancy dress, but if nothing else, all entrants will come away with a woolly bobble hat as a memento.
North Pier Boxing Day 10K (Lancashire, December 26)
You and 300 other runners can limber up after a day on the sofa with this Boxing Day 10K. A new event along Blackpool's famous Golden Mile, its flat, traffic-free road route will be kind to you, and its single-lap route in colourful Blackpool will keep you entertained. And with a commemorative medal for all entrants, those you leave at home with the leftovers can't fail but think you deserve it!
More 10K highlights...
Bolsover - Mizuno 10K (Derbyshire, December 14)
Telford 10K (Shropshire, December 21)
The Trelissick Winter Estate 10K (Cornwall, December 21)
Round The Lakes Poole 10K (Dorset, December 26)
Somerley 10K (Hampshire, December 28)
Glynneath 5 (West Glamorgan, December 26)
Try this five-mile road race along the traffic-free rural Neath Valley. This friendly, low-key fixture will motivate you to keep running through seasonal excesses, and the course is forgivingly flat, tilting downhill on the way out with a gentle uphill stretch back to the finish.
The Glynneath 5 is festive fun for all abilities, with beginners made very welcome. Among the staggering array of prizes are Improvers' Trophies for anyone beating last year's performance, and team prizes for father and son, father and daughter, mother and son, mother and daughter and, yes, husband and wife teams.
Trionium New Year Box Hill Knacker Cracker 10K (Surrey, January 1)
New Year's Day 2008 saw 150 hardy runners line up for this demanding rural 10K. The Knacker Cracker certainly lives up to its name – its rough trails take entrants over four hills and a whopping 1,500ft (475m) of ascent and descent. Your reward? Amazing views over the North Downs from the top of each peak. You'll also walk away with a medal, T-shirt, memento and slightly more unusually, a carrot.
But the Knacker Cracker has a friendly side too – as well as raising money for charity, and a fancy dress option, its handicap system of staggered start times means no one gets left behind.
Still not convinced? Join the free course run-through in mid-December – organisers promise it'll be slow, with plenty of breaks!