The second-oldest UK marathon celebrates its 30th birthday this year. It’s a gem of a race, run over a generally flat course, with wonderful Cornish sea views.
It follows an out-and-back section, before heading north onto a two-lap route along the north coast and back through the historic mining district of Pool. There’s 20-mile option if you’re saving your legs for a full marathon later in the spring, and every runner receives a home-made Cornish pastie.
You can’t help but enjoy the Hastings Half-Marathon. There’s the historic setting, sleepy villages, one of spring’s toughest half-marathon courses, and for those of you who like a little irony as you run, a choir bashing out their own rendition of ‘Climb Every Mountain’.
Allegedly tracing the path that William The Conqueror took when landing on these shores in 1066, the route takes you around the town’s old quarters, before heading away from the coast.
Once you’ve crested a two-mile hill, the course undulates through the Old Town and fishing market, before a long descent back down to the Pier, and a flat finish along the sea front. There's even a crèche in which to park your little ones, with their lunch thrown in for free. Once again there will be extra train services laid on from London and Kent.
Think of your spring marathon as if it were the peak of a mountain. You've trained solidly over the past weeks and months, before finally reaching your target. However, those final steps towards the top during your warm-up races need not be dull.
As the photo on the right suggests, the Rhayader Round the Lakes is one of the highlights on the spring calendar. Held in Elan Valley in Mid Wales, it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted, with climbs around the three lakes - Garrad Ddu, Graig Goch and Pen-y-Garreg - offering spectacular mountain scenery.
Ashby 20 (Leicestershire, March 19)
Comprising a two-lap course, this race heads out through some of Leicestershire’s most delightful countryside, taking in the villages of Packington and Heather. It’s more that just undulating, with a beast of a climb at mile 17 and more than enough inclines scattered around the rest of the course to top up your spring training. If you can finish feeling strong, you’re in great shape for a marathon.
Edinburgh Forthside Half-Marathon (Midlothian, March 26)
With our events calendar jam-packed with over 100 Scottish races, selecting a preview from north of the border was a tall order. But try this inaugural half-marathon from Edinburgh Forthside.
Starting at Ocean Terminal, the race heads out past Victoria dock, for what the organisers promise to be one of the flattest half-marathon courses anywhere in the UK. The city-centre may be off-limits, but there’s plenty for you to cast your eyes over in one of Scotland’s most redeveloped areas.
Not running a marathon this spring? For all you short-race specialists and beginners out there, here’s a low-down on some of the 10K races that pepper the month of March.
Fradley 10K, (Staffs, March 12)
If you're out and about in Staffordshire on the 12th and don't fancy the length of the 20-mile race, how about a flat, rural 10K instead?
The Great Daffodil Run - Marie Curie Cancer Care 10K (Northamptonshire, March 12)
Last year over 2000 runners entered this 10K. Now there’s a new venue set within the graceful surroundings of Kelmarsh Hall with a predominantly scenic course, littered with rolling hills.
Wimbledon Premier 10K (London, March 26)
Held twice a year, in spring and autumn, this town-centre 10K is a great excuse to lace up your running shoes. Run on parkland and roads, it races through Wimbledon village, whilst skirting the edge of the Common. Watch out for the uphill finish.
Sherbourne Castle 10K (Dorset, March 26)
If busy town races aren’t your thing, then look no further than this scenic off-road adventure. Set within the grounds of Sherbourne Castle, the course undulates alongside a lake and woods. If you’re looking for something even shorter, there are 5K and 1500m races, too.