Most Popular Races...Saab Salomon HellRunner 10, Hants, Oct 17
It seems as though adventure race organisers are always trying to go one better than each other. If those next door have three bales of hay and a wall as obstacles, then you can bet that in the next new race the bales will be on fire and the wall 10ft higher.
The Hellrunner is no different and although not being as hellish as Tough Guy, it still looks set to create its own cult status within the running calendar. A 10-miler comprising three 'zones' and with a gruelling finish adequately titled 'The Hills of Hell', entering now will give you eternal pub bragging rights to say, "I was there. That’s right, the first year."
Other than the rigorous finish, you'll have to contend with getting your by-now-exhausted bodies through the Wetlands, along with making it over sandy trails and tracks.
Don't let the fact that there are no showers put you off. Just think off all drinks you’ll have bought for you afterwards.
Beachy Head Marathon, Sussex, Oct 23
With RW magazine readers voting this their fourth favourite race in 2003 (ahead of FLM no less), it's only right that we preview the upcoming edition. Previously known as the Seven Sisters Marathon and now in its 24th year, this event is certainly not for the faint-hearted. It has 3500ft of ascent, mixed in with an abundance of stiles and steps.
On a less physical upside, the scenic route through the Sussex South Downs is among the very best. A circular route through Friston Forest and the village of Alfriston will lead you up the final seven-mile stretch along Seven Sisters. With a nine-hour time limit, walkers and first-time marathon runners are more than welcome.
Other popular races include:
Standalone 10K, Herts, Oct 3
While we're on the subject of popular races, over 100 RW members have signed up for this event. From an encouraging race organiser, right down to the enthusiastic army cadets that help marshal the course - this could be a race for any runner. Starting in Letchworth Garden City (the first city of its kind in England) the race takes in a soft rolling route through the villages of Norton and Stotford, before heading back to the finish at Standalone farm.
Great Cumbrian Run Half-Marathon, Cumbria, Oct 17
If you expect any race with Cumbrian in the title to be a tough, hilly challenge, you’ll be disappointed with the Great Cumbrian Run. Apart from the minor fact that the start has been moved from Sheepmount stadium to Bitts Park, it's run over the same pancake-flat course. Taking in Carlisle Castle and its suburban soundings, this flawlessly organised run was in RW’s top 100 races of 2003.
Nationwide Swindon Half-Marathon, Wilts, Oct 17
What do Cardiff, Bath, Bristol and Reading all have in common? They all host king-size half-marathons and they're just a hop, skip and a jump from the M4. But with Swindon promoting its first half-marathon, there's a new addition to the club.
Starting outside Nationwide's HQ on the outskirts of town, the route meanders out into the strikingly pretty surroundings of the Wiltshire Downs and back into town. Once you're over the demanding climb up to Badbury Castle there's enough of a descent to see you recover and hopefully finish with a flourish.