Filling Up Fast...
OK, so these two races aren't in July but with places going like hot cakes, you'd best sign up now…
27th Newark Half-Marathon (Nottinghamshire, August 10)
Long-standing, quintessentially local event, starting and finishing in the historic market town of Newark-on-Trent.
London Pride Run 10K (London, August 18)
Renowned for its fantastic atmosphere and friendly crowds, this is a fast, flat course comprising three circuits of London’s leafy Victoria Park.
Evesham Vale 10K (Worcestershire, July 13)
Evesham Vale Running Club has only been in existence for just over a year, but with the help of the council they've already organised the town's first 10K race. The point-to-point race will be at the end of the River Festival taking place over the weekend. The town centre will be closed for the race, which takes in the town's streets, the beautiful Abbey Park and stretches of the River Avon, which runners cross twice.
It's a predominantly flat course, and wide paths leave the field open for some quick times and possible PBs. Runners should listen out for the jazz band that they'll pass along the course, that will hopefully take minds off aching legs and push runners on. Mugs, refreshments and prizes will be awarded after the race, leaving plenty of time to take in the delights of this classic English market town.
Surrey Slog Half-Marathon (Surrey, July 20)
This tough cross-country course in Surrey has been described many times as a 'must do'. PB hunters beware though, MABEC Running League, who organise the race, suggests adding 15 per cent on your usual half-marathon times.
Runners relish the luscious forest trails as much as they dread the fearsome hills. The quality of the marshalling and organisation are second-to-none and receive consistently high praise for making the event run so smoothly. All this adds up to it being an extremely popular race, but places are limited to only 250, so enter online now to avoid disappointment.More half-marathon highlights...
Dartford Half-Marathon (Kent, July 20)
NSPCC Milton Keynes Half-Marathon (Buckinghamshire, July 20)
The Grant and Stone Wycombe Half-Marathon (Buckinghamshire, July 20)
Despite Fairlands Valley Park being on the outskirts of Stevenage, this event, organised by Fairlands Valley Spartans Running Club and now in its 14th year, is surprisingly rural. Competitors are offered the choice of three distances to run or walk: 26.2, 18 or 12 miles. Expect trails, paths, country roads and bridle paths. Brushing up on your map skills (you might want to carry one with you) and reading the course notes are recommended in order to prevent getting lost or taking wrong turns.
Don't expect a PB here; instead just enjoy the company and scenery in this part of Hertfordshire. Enter online for the very reasonable entry fee of £13 (unaffiliated) you'll be able to enjoy the free BBQ and bread pudding.
More multi-terrain highlights...
Maiden Castle Loop 6.5 (Dorset, July 12)
Barbury Castle Track 'n' Trail 5 (Wiltshire, July 23)
Tywardreath Trotter (Cornwall, July 26)
Pudsey 10K Challenge (West Yorkshire, July 27)
This year the Swanage Half-Marathon will be celebrating 100 years of the event – the oldest county road race in the UK. All competitors will receive a special cut-glass cube trophy to mark the occasion. It's a notoriously hilly course through Dorset's Purbeck Hills, offering steep climbs and stunning views in equal measure. Organisers have brought the start time forward this year to 10am in an attempt to avoid the worst of the heat and the traffic in this popular summer holiday destination.
The race starts and finishes on the seafront, and with an estimated 25,000 people passing through the town over the week for the Swanage Festival and regatta, the support the runners receive will be fantastic. Organisers hope to beat last year's total and raise at least £20,000 for charity in 2008.
(courtesy of Jon Steadman)
Harlow 10 (Essex, July 27)
This friendly 10-mile race is the main event of the year for its organisers, Harlow Running Club. This year a change to the course takes runners away from the town's network of cycle paths for half the race and onto the leafy country roads bordering the town. Last year's race took place on the hottest day of 2007. Runners and organisers alike are hoping that 2008 sees more favourable conditions, as it remains a predominantly flat course with a good chance of getting a PB. There is a popular track finish at the Mark Hall sports centre where facilities cater well for all runners.
The field has traditionally been made up of a good mix of club runners and beginners, and with easy access to the race from the M11, race organisers are keen to attract more competitors making the trip out from London.