Crewkerne 9 (Somerset, June 4)
It samples delightful South Somerset hilly countryside. Plus junior and fun runs for the family.
Southend Half-Marathon (Essex, June 11)
Popular with RW members: expect a good forum turnout for this flat out-and-back course.
City of Norwich Half-Marathon (Norfolk, June 11)
Last year more than 1000 runners provided the biggest-ever turnout for this rural race.
National Highlights...Harvel 5 (Kent, June 3)
This isn’t your typical semi-rural five-miler. Closer inspection shows it’s been voted as one of June’s most popular races, packed with charming quirks. The route itself is pleasant enough, with competitors taking in Trosley Country Park and suburban roads within Harvel. So what sets this race apart? Firstly, local resident Lord Toby Jug, from the Monster Raving Looney Party, will start the race at the civilised time of two o’clock in the afternoon. There’s also a beer tent at the start and finish, and competitors have the option of stopping at the aid station for a swift half before completing the race. Spot prizes include flowerpots and papier mache geese, and with all that beer, we’d be surprised if the friendly atmosphere wasn’t enough to keep you around all afternoon.
Hertfordshire’s oldest town and former Roman stronghold now holds a cracking half-marathon. In a perverse twist, last year's Buncefield gas explosion has improved the - the route takes in new country roads, and for the first time runners will have the chance of running through the town centre. Starting in Verulamium Park, the race whistles past the St. Albans museum, before reaching St Michael's village, offering views over the Abbey, clock tower and Verulamium Park on the return stretch. With live jazz bands and street performers en route, race organisers are set for a record field of 2,000.
Why not try your hand at running three races in as many days? Set within the Bedfordshire countryside, runners face a 5-miler, followed by an 8-mile trail race and a half-marathon on the final day. You don’t have to compete in all three; instead you can pick and choose, but with scenic landscapes and soft trails throughout most of the weekend, it’s a friendly step into multi-stage racing.
Chiquita Bananaman Chase (London, June 25)
What 10 things do you want to do before you die? Learn a foreign language? Write a chart-topping pop song? Chase the cast of Emmerdale through Victoria Park in banana costumes? Well if you need to ask where the cinema is in French, or need tips on the art form that is air guitar, Runner’s World might not be your first port of call. However we can offer you the chance to complete the final task, as June sees the inaugural Chiquita Bananaman Chase 10K. Banana-dressed soap stars will set off at staggered intervals, leaving you with the chance to chase as many down as you can before the finish. Is it any wonder that over 800 website members have already entered?
MOB Pennine 100 (Derbs, June 24)
Calling all supermen and women. From the organisers of the Marathon of Britain comes a new long-distance race designed to test the mettle of any runner. It’s 100 miles of footpaths and tracks, and with over 10,000 metres of ascent and decent, it’s not an event for the faint-hearted. Heading out from Derbyshire countryside runners will be challenged to reach various checkpoints, so map-reading skills are required. There’s also a duathlon too, if you fancy sandwiching a 100-mile off-road bike ride between two marathons. At £85 it’s not cheap, but it certainly looks like a rewarding challenge.
Humber Bridge Half-Marathon (East Riding of Yorkshire, June 25)
Hull’s pioneering feat of engineering cuts an impressive figure over the Humber Estuary. Not only is it the longest single-span suspension bridge in Great Britain, it’s also the course highlight for a challenging half-marathon. Now in its 6th year, the race starts at the north end of the bridge at Hessle, with a short tour of the village, before the first crossing. If it’s a clear day you’ll be treated to views over the Humber Estuary, with the city of Hull in the distance. From there, you’ll descend into the rural market town of Barton-on-Humber before a return crossing and a downhill finish.