Races of the Year 2011: Beginners

Race for Life

The Beginner and PB categories in this section have been put together using a slightly altered system to the other categories. While we still only used races that notched up 25 ratings or more, we tweaked the final selection to ensure that we covered 10K, half marathon and full marathon distances so there would be something for everyone. In the absence of a 5K race having accumulated 25 or more ratings, we simply included our choice of beginner-friendly options.

1. Reading Half-Marathon, Berkshire
Date in 2012: April 1
With a strong reputation for organisational excellence, crowd support and a friendly field, Reading makes the perfect first half. The flat route winds through Reading from Green Park to the town centre before a spectacular finish in the Madejski Stadium. Enter online.

2. Robin Hood Half/ Full Marathon, Nottingham
Date in 2012: September (TBC)
One for all the family, this much-loved festival of running comes complete with various road distances, a party atmosphere at the  race village, and a ‘mini marathon’ to keep your friends and family occupied. Enter online.

3. Liverpool Half-Marathon, Merseyside
Date in 2012: March 18
This big-hitting city race that runs through the heart of Liverpool’s newly developed waterfront and city centre is perfect first-time racing material with its fast, flat route.

4. Ashtead 10K, Surrey
Date in 2012: September (date TBC)
Billed by the organiser as ‘The Greenest Race in Britain’, the Ashtead 10K is just as friendly to beginners as it is to the planet. The pretty course takes place entirely on Ashtead Common, over quiet paths through ancient oaks.

5. Race for Life - Women Only, locations nationwide
Date in 2012: spring/summer
A national behemoth with events held all over the country, this worthy fundraising effort for Cancer Research UK doubles as a fun, super-friendly, low-pressure introduction to the racing experience.