UK Marathon Calendar 2004

We UK runners are lucky to have one of the world’s biggest and fastest 26.2-mile races right on our doorstep.

But we’re even more lucky to have some of the world’s friendliest, prettiest, toughest and even smallest marathons, too. And to help you find the race to suit you, we’ve put together a list of all of the marathons taking place in Britain in 2004. This year’s diary is correct at the time of going to press (February), but some of the details may be subject to change, so keep an eye on our Race Diary for any alterations.

When is it? What is it? Run this if you like...
March 7 The Steyning Stinger, Sussex Running up and down hills; tramping through the mud; jumping over gates; fantastic views over the South Downs.
March 13 Flame Health 2 Days, Worcs Two marathons in as many days; evening meal and accommodation provided; talks and advice from previous competitors
March 21 Duchy Marathon, Cornwall Cornish sea views; Cornish pasties – every runner gets one. For those in training for Flora London Marathon, there is an option to drop out at the 20-mile point
March 27 Bath Beat, Somerset Rural, undulating courses; races primarily for walkers
April 4 Taunton Marathon, Somerset Rural alternatives to the Flora London Marathon; value for money; fantastic organisation; friendly runners
April 4 Bungay Black Dog Marathon, Suffolk Flat, riverside courses; being scared by local ghost stories; events with a post-race beer tent
April 18 Flora London Marathon Crowds; atmosphere; fancy dress; trying to get on TV; boasting that you got in
April 18 Tresco Marathon, Cornwall Eschewing the crowds and hoopla of the Flora London Marathon; one of the smallest marathons in the world, with a limit of 125 competitors; running laps (the island is only two miles across)
April 25 Shakespeare Marathon, Staffs Afternoon starts; big-race atmosphere; Aston Villa (Dion Dublin will be starting the race)
April 25 Lochaber Marathon, Fort William Scottish mountain scenery; flat, out-and-back courses – despite nestling below Ben Nevis!
May 2 Three Forts Marathon, Sussex Tough courses with 3450ft of climbing; running off-road and finding your own way round (there are no marshals); small fields – there were only 78 runners last year
May 2 Neolithic Marathon, Wilts Racing point-to-point; undulating but scenic cross-country trails; druidry – you’ll pass Stonehenge
May 2 Falcon Flyer, North Yorks Running through dense forest; the moors; 12-hour time limits
May 2 Rotary Heritage Coast Marathon Walk/Run, Suffolk Seeing the sea; English coastal landscapes; running on undulating trails; bringing the family along to join in
May 3 Belfast City Marathon, Northern Ireland City-centre races; pasta parties with traditional Irish dancing
May 8 Caythorpe Canter, Lincs A 12- or 26-mile challenge for walkers and runners; undulating courses
May 9 Isle Of Wight Marathon, Ryde Tradition – this is Britain’s longest continuously run marathon; hills; sea breezes; bargain race entries
May 16 Halstead Marathon, Suffolk Running along country lanes; friendly runners – there will be a group of 4:30 marathoners meeting up at the start to run together
May 22 White Peak Marathon, Derbys Traffic-free, off-road, point-to-point racing; steep downhill finishes

When is it? What is it? Run this if you like...
June 5 Wharfedale Off-Road Marathon, North Yorks 2500ft off-road ascent; navigating along the Pennine Way; tea and biscuits at the checkpoints; free food and drink at the finish
June 6 Lake Vyrnwy Marathon, Wales Getting a personal best in a wonderful, scenic location
June 13 Dartmoor Vale Marathon, Devon Scenic country lanes; a friendly, community-event atmosphere; horse-racing – the race starts and finishes around the Newton Abbot racecourse
June 13 Edinburgh Marathon, Scotland Early starts; haggis at the pre-race pasta party
June 20 Stoke On Trent City Marathon, Staffs ‘The longest fun run in Britain’; big hills at 20 miles; enthusiastic support from the local spectators
June 20 Blackpool Flyde Coast Marathon, Lancs Super-fast, traffic-free courses; lots of crowd support; sea air; post-race roller coasters, towers and sandcastle-building
July 11 Rottingdean Windmill Walks & Marathon, Sussex Trail events; reading maps to navigate; under-cliff scenery!
July 18 Fairland Valley Challenge Marathon, Herts Finding new parts of Hertfordshire; multi-terrain courses; following instructions and reading maps to navigate; great post-race grub – especially barbecues and bread pudding!
August 15 Isle Of Man Marathon Quiet country lanes and marvellous scenery; small, friendly races; post-race massages and buffets
August 24 Great Langdale Marathon, Cumbria Steep hills; breathtaking scenery; lakes; more hills. (Described by Ron Hill as one of the hardest marathons in the world.)
August 29 Moray Marathon, Scotland Uncomplicated, gently undulating races; Scottish coastal views; dolphin and whale watching en route.

Autumn & Winter
When is it? What is it? Run this if you like...
September 5 Carver Wolverhampton Marathon, Staffs Fast courses with gentle climbs and a mix of town and country; friendly crowds; good weather – it’s usually blessed with warm September sunshine
September 5 Kent Coastal Marathon, Kent Traffic-free, flat courses; coastal scenery
September 12 Experian Robin Hood Marathon, Notts A mix of hilly town and flat rural running; negative splits; the carnival atmosphere of a 10,000-plus runner start; nightlife – Nottingham’s is legendary
September 12 Yorkshireman Off-Road Marathon, Yorks Demanding off-road courses; entering team events
September 19 New Forest Marathon, Hants Gently undulating, quiet forest roads; New Forest ponies; pre-race family fêtes
October 3 Baxter's Loch Ness Marathon, Scotland Bagpipes and Highland music en route; stadium finishes; point-to-point races; moorland scenery; Nessie-spotting
October 3 Clarendon Way Marathon, Hants Hills; stiles; multi-terrain, point-to-point racing; following the Pilgrim’s Way; cathedral cities
October 10 Kingston Running Festival, Surrey Flat races; running along the river – it uses the Thames Towpath; historic palaces – you pass Hampton Court; shopping after running
October 17 Abingdon Marathon, Oxon Late season PBs on a flat, scenic rural course; helpful marshals; cheering crowds; meeting RUNNER’S WORLD forumites!
October 23 Beachy Head Marathon, Sussex 3500ft of South Downs ascents; windy, muddy, tough courses; cattle- and sheep-dodging; pub stops along the way; free swimming and hot food at the finish
October 31 The National Trust Snowdonia Marathon, Wales Tough marathons in spectacular settings with huge hills and unpredictable weather
November 21 Everards Leicester Marathon, Leics Undulating races; pre and post-race massages; hot food served at the finish
December 5 Luton Marathon, Beds Fast, flat, multiple-lap courses; getting one last big race in before Christmas