RW Pocket Race Guide - April

Closing Soon...

Get them while they're hot. Entries for the Belvoir Half close soon.

Belvoir Half-Marathon (Leics, April 3)
Know for its pies and cheese, Melton Mowbray also has a popular half-marathon to shout about. The route winds along quiet, flat country roads and through pretty Leicestershire villages.

Blackpool Sand National 4.5 (Lancs, April 3)
From the organisers of the Blackpool Beach 10K comes another beach race run over the classic Aintree distance of 4.5 miles. It consists of two laps and features four obstacles per lap.

City of Lincoln Interflora 10K (Lincs, April 3)
Run over a flat course through the historical parts of Lincoln, with the finish in the grounds of Lincoln Castle. Over 800 RW members have entered already!

National Highlights...

Exe to Axe 20.3 (Devon, April 3)

The London Marathon might be the grandest race in April, but you needn’t look any further to find one of this month’s toughest races. Now in its third year, the Exe to Axe alternates its start and finish points, and this year’s start in Exemouth means you'll be tackling the more demanding variation, with 4000ft of off-road climbing to contend with.

Why take it on? The uphill route does have the advantage of a prevailing wind helping you along the coast and up those hills. But by far the greatest reason is the glorious views along the Jurassic coast. What’s more, you can enter as part of a team and enjoy the views with your running buddies.

The Loch of the draw: running alongside Loch Eil
Lochaber Marathon (Highland, April 24)

If racing was only about getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible, without any regard for scenery or atmosphere, we’d be previewing the Car Park 10K or the Treadmill 5 this month.

Thankfully, there are races such as the Lochaber Mararthon on the calendar. This stunning race meanders along a beautifully scenic route. Starting far away from the crowds and cameras of London, at Fort William, the out and back course runs along Loch Eil with mountain views out over Loch Lomond.

What's more, the race doesn’t reach 20 metres above sea level, so fast times are still achievable. It’s like mountain running, but without the mountains.

Black and white houses line the route in Stratford

Shakespeare Marathon and Half-Marathon (Warks, April 24)

Now in its 24th year, the Shakespeare races are already looking forward to their biggest fields to date, with 3,000 runners scheduled to lace-up at this year's start.

That shouldn't come as a surprise, with a course that boasts the Warwickshire countryside, as well as a dashing of local sights along the way.

Commemorating Shakespeare's birthday, the race starts alongside the impressive Royal Theatre, before a quick loop through the town centre. Then it's along the River Avon and into the surrounding countryside.

Balmoral Tartan 10K (Aberdeenshire, April 30)

'Location, location, location', isn't just a term used by estate agents. It's an important part of racing, too. So when the Balmoral Estate once again agreed to open its grounds to hold one of Scotland's most scenic races, we had to let you know.

Starting within yards of the Castle (it's actually the second one to be built since the original in the 15th century), the race takes a highlighted tour of the 26,000 hectares of land.

The traffic-free paths, a view of the 3,000 red deer that roam freely and 3,000 runners to accompany you, will make for a great racing experience.

Sheffield Half-Marathon (South Yorks, May 1)

Its full-length marathon may be dead and buried, but Sheffield's Half-Marathon is alive and kicking. Starting and finishing at the impressive Don Valley Stadium (where you can expect a 3,000-strong crowd to cheer you on), the race heads directly into the city centre, for a display of Sheffield’s proudest sights, including Sheffield Arena, the town hall and Bramall Lane Stadium.

Although hardly any of the route is entirely flat, there aren't any lung-busting hills along the way. Look out for snooker supremo Steve Davis. He's the half-marathon starter, and could possibly be running the 3K Fun Run.