RW Pocket Race Guide - July

Closing Soon...

The Picnic (Surrey, July 2)
Run this if you'd like to boast that you've run Britain's hardest marathon - this off-road race has 6000ft of climbing- at least you'll get superb views over the North Downs.

Great Bentley Friday Night 5 (Essex, July 8)
Part of the Essex/Suffolk Friday Night 5 Series. The course is fast and flat. A great way to relax after a day's work.

National Highlights...

Wooded valleys, rolling hills and picturesque streams at the Pudsey 10K (W Yorks, Jul 24)
Port Lympne Rhino Challenge 10K (Kent, July 9)
The fourth running of the Port Lympne Rhino Challenge gives entrants the choice between a 10K run or two cycling distances. The 10K starts and finishes adjacent to the Wild Animal Park, and leads with a flat/downhill two miles, as the route races through the village of Sellindge.

A sharp right turn will take runners to a bridge crossing over the Channel Tunnel rail link, before a long drag back up to the edge of Lympne Park. There's entertainment for the family too, with race-entry guaranteeing you free passage into the Animal Park.

10K Highlights:
Notfast Open 10K (Notts, July 10)
Pudsey 10K Challenge (W Yorks, Jul 24)
Thorpe Edge Festival 10K (West Yorks, July 10)

Run Preston 10K (Lancs, July 10)
Following the success of last year's events, Preston's Festival of Running is back. The day kicks off with a two-lap 10K, a single-lap 5K running slightly later and a fun run taking place in the afternoon.

All three events start and finish on Market Street and tour through the heart of the city. For the 10K and 5K, runners will take in Glovers Court, with slight climbs through Avenham and Miller Parks. Then it's back along footpaths by the River Ribble, to a city-centre finish.

New Forest 10 (Hants, July 10)

Here's your chance to lace up your trail shoes for a multi-terrain race run over a classic distance. Created by William the Conqueror in 1079, as a deer-hunting park, the trails and tracks of the New Forest provide rolling terrain with the toughest climb peaking at around the eight-mile mark.

But the efforts exerted through farmlands and wide-open tracks will be more than worth it, as you take in some of the most pleasant scenery Hampshire has to offer. But be quick, there are no entries on the day!

10-Mile Highlights:
Trentham 10  (Staffs, July 24)
Brecon 10 (Powys, August 7)
Holbeach Tommy Clay 10 (Lincs, August 14)

Lace up for one of the longest-running races in Kent: Dartford Half-Marathon(Kent, July 17)
Dartford Half-Marathon (Kent, July 17)

On a Sunday afternoon, 29 years ago, a young Steve Ovett won the inaugural Dartford Half-Marathon. While the entry fee has risen (it would have cost you 30 pence that year), one of Kent's longest-running races remains, despite a series of course changes.

Starting from Central Park, the route tours through Dartford's rural and suburban areas, and into the villages of Sutton-at-Hone and Longfield. Once you've made it to the greenery of Darenth Country Park and tackled the race's only lung-busting hill, you can head for home, safe in the knowledge that the final three miles are flat or downhill, to the finish at the athletics track.

Half-Marathon Highlights:
Mansfield Half-Marathon  (Notts, July 3)
MABAC Surrey Slog Half-Marathon (Surrey, July 17)
Newark Half Marathon (Notts, August 14)

Runners and walkers are welcome at the Fairlands Valley Challenge (Herts, July 17)
Fairlands Valley Challenge Multi-Terrain Marathon (Herts, July 17)

With a distinct lack of out-and-out road marathons this month, you've an ideal opportunity to try your hand at an off-roader instead. Perhaps the pick of the bunch is the Fairlands Valley Challenge.

You'll need your navigation skills at the ready as you head over tracks and trails through the idyllic villages of Datchworth, Tewin, Stapleford, Chapmore End and Watton-at-Stone.

There's also a section through Bramfield Woods, before sneaking back into Stevenage, and a finish within the Fairlands Valley Park. Apart from the scenic route, refreshments include the race's famous bread pudding provided at all the checkpoints. While there's also be a BBQ at the finish. If a full-marathon is a tad on the long side, there are 18-mile and 11-mile options too.

Marathon Highlights:
Windmill Walks and Marathon (East Sussex, July 10)
City of Chichester International Challenge (West Sussex, July 17)
Carver Wolverhampton City Marathon (West Mids, Sept 4)

NSPCC Milton Keynes Half-Marathon (Bucks, July 24)

Milton Keynes may not spring to mind as an obvious place to hold two half-marathons in a year. Surely the organisers used up the only nice scenery during the first 13.1 miles back in March? Well, on July 24 the NSPCC will introduce 1000 race entrants to a tour of Milton Keynes's running highlights, using a different course.

Run entirely on closed roads, the route winds along red-way cycle paths, heading past Willen Lake, before swinging back along the Grand Union Canal and through Linford Manor Park to the finish. Who would have thought it - Milton Keynes, the home of two cracking half-marathons.