Victory 5, December 2
Victory 5 (Hampshire, December 2)
Make this a must-do if you’re looking for another crack at a short-distance PB before the year is out – get the South-coast wind behind you and you’ll breeze round the flat, scenic course to the stadium finish.
Larking Gowen City of Norwich Half-Marathon (Norfolk, December 2)
More than twice as many runners as last year have already registered for this two-lap flat fixture charting through the western outskirts of the historic city. Don’t feel ready to tackle the half-marathon distance? Then sign up for the Race4Each 5K option, also starting and finishing in Norfolk Showground.
Bedford Harriers Half-Marathon (Bedfordshire, December 2)
The last 13.1-miler in the UK racing calendar, run along quiet country lanes and through a handful of quaint villages, as well as the historic market town of Newport Pagnell. Some taxing undulations in the opening miles make for a stirring start, but fast times are still possible.
Filling Up Fast…
OK, so these events might be months away, but you'll need to get in early if you want to get your mitts on a place...
Edinburgh Marathon (Edinburgh, May 25)
First-timers and hot-headed PB chasers alike are sure to enjoy the UK’s second-largest marathon, renowned for its flat, fast course, an overall elevation drop of 230ft and crowds of merry supporters. Registration closes next month though, so get your skates on if you want to be part of the 2008 event.
Jane Tomlinson's "Run For All" 10K (Leeds, June 22)
Celebrate the legacy of inspirational runner and fundraising hero, Jane Tomlinson, by joining 12,000 runners in next year’s commemorative Leeds 10K. Taking in all of Leeds’ iconic landmarks, the race promises an atmosphere and camaraderie second to none.
London Santa Run, December 8
Santa Runs (London, Inverclye and various others throughout December)
Few things say 'it’s Christmas!' like the sight of thousands of runners careering around Britain in their red-and-white finest, and this year’s Santa run agenda is more lively than ever. Choose between a 2,500-strong chip-timed event in London’s Battersea Park, the small-but-cosy Inverclyde 5K dash, or one of three inaugural fixtures in Brighton, Bolton and Southampton. With participation (rather than competition) at the top of the morning’s agenda, both beginners and family groups can expect a warm welcome, and there’s no doubt the seasonal camaraderie will rub off on spectators too. Suits and beards are included in the entry fee, but don’t despair if you usually prefer to run in cooler attire – it’s not unknown for runners to brave the challenge sporting nothing more than a festively customised undergarment...
More festive highlights...
RNLI Reindeer Run 10K (West Glamorgan, December 2)
Ulverston Christmas Pudding 10K (Cumbria, December 2)
Swanley Christmas Caper (Kent, December 9)
Kent Christmas Cracker (Kent, December 16)
The Votwo Pudding Catcher (Hampshire, December 16)
Christmas Pudding Dash (East Sussex, December 22)
Thompson Brothers Stockport 10 (Greater Manchester, December 8)
Thompson Brothers Stockport 10, December 8
Goody bags across the country may be groaning under the weight of Christmas puddings and winter apparel this month, but if there’s one thing that entrants to this one-lap ten-miler shouldn’t expect from their post-race loot, it’s anything traditional – previous mementos have included mealworms, zips, water bombs and golf tees. Not that such peculiar prizes are the sole reason runners flock back to this event time and again. A stadium start and finish (complete with individual tannoy announcements), local soap stars acting as marshals, and a tasty hot-pot dished out back at race HQ all add up to make this an impeccably organised, memorable event. Its testing course is surely also part of the draw – the anti-clockwise loop through the neighbouring locales of Bredbury and Romiley boasts two challenging climbs that, while not murderously steep, are mischievously positioned just where your legs will feel them the most.
Staffordshire Moorlands Xmas Cracker, December 16
Staffordshire Moorlands Xmas Cracker (Staffordshire, December 16)
Running in fancy dress may be de rigueur for many a city-centre fundraiser, but when a similar array of characters is seen lining up at the start of an eight-mile off-road challenge in the midst of winter, it speaks volumes about the atmosphere of the event in question. Fairies, hobbits, pantomime dames and even SpongeBob SquarePants were spotted limbering up for last year’s fixture, spreading welcome cheer among the field on an otherwise wet and misty morning. Setting out from Tittersworth reservoir, tough, rocky climbs and muddy fields make for a gruelling scramble around The Roaches – a gritstone escarpment on the south-western edge of the Peak District – though runners are soon rewarded with staggering views across rugged rural landscapes. Some exposed hillside stretches can make for a bleak outlook if the weather is squally, but if you’re able to focus on the promise of hot beverages and beer at the finish, you’ll be sure to find that extra something to carry you home.
More off-road highlights...
Tadley Runners Xmas XC 5.3 (Hampshire, December 9)
Campbell Park Canter (10K, 5K, 2.3K options) (Buckinghamshire, November 16)
Somerley 10K (Hampshire, December 30)
Buntingford Year End 10-mile Race, December 30
Buntingford Year End 10-mile Race (Hertfordshire, December 30)
One of your final chances to squeeze in a fixture in 2007, this bracing 10-miler is the perfect opportunity to burn off excess festive calories and take stock of your end-of-year fitness. Its continuous mix of ups and downs offers a definite test for the legs, while wide, open country lanes combined with characteristic gusty winds make this an ideal number for chasing away the seasonal cobwebs. The opening few miles round residential suburbs might leave you hankering for more pleasant course-side scenery, but soon enough increasingly rural vistas and a loop through the charming villages of Westmill and Aspenden beckon. Good spectator support, robust organisation and a high turnout of club runners make this an annual favourite for some – throw in a not-so-faint trace of PB potential too and it’s no wonder this fixture continues to go from strength to strength.
New Year Box Hill Knacker Cracker (Surrey, January 1)
Starting 2008 with a guaranteed Personal Worst might go against the grain of beginning the New Year afresh, but we’re willing to bet the post-race glow of completing the “toughest 10K in Britain” will last longer than many a well-meant resolution. Comprising four punishing climbs up one of the best known summits of the North Downs – to total 475m of ascent and descent – you’ll not only need legs of steel and a head for heights, but also a streak of masochistic madness as you slip, slide and slither round the devilish course. The handicapped start – where runners set off according to their estimated completion time (slowest first) – adds to the strong sense of solidarity among the field, as do the few who have courage enough to turn out in costume (last year’s ninth place went to a ‘fully upholstered Wonder Woman’).
More early 2008 highlights...
Cleethorpes New Year's Day 10K (Lincolnshire, January 1)
The Wymondham New Year's Day 10K (Norfolk, January 1)
Nigel Barge Memorial Race 10K (Glasgow, January 5)
The Hebden (West Yorkshire, January 5)
Tadworth 10 (Surrey, January 6)