Royal Parks Foundation Half
Date for the diary: 8th October 2017
What is it? One to make you feel proud to be a Londoner. A 13.1-miler (21.1km) that raises vital funds for the Royal Parks and all the sport, education, art, wildlife and more that they look after. That oughta make those blisters slightly more bearable.
Where is it? Around some of London’s more iconic and tourist-pleasing sights, including four Royal Parks, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Albert Hall. Probably the most Instagram-friendly half on the planet.
First step: Register your interest at royalparkshalf.com
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Oxford Half Marathon
Date for the diary: 8th October 2017
What is it? The best way to take in the many historic sights of England’s oldest university city. Runners tackle 21km while spectators also have a chance to work up a sweat at the Festival of Fitness that will run throughout the day. This includes group fitness classes, food and drink stalls, and live music. If you’re accompanying a runner, just remember to go and cheer for them.
Where is it? The route starts in the city centre on Broad Street, near Trinity College, before heading out to the picturesque village of Old Marston. From there you come back across the River Cherwell towards the centre to finish in front of the iconic Radcliffe Camera.
First step: You can sign up for a place in the Oxford Half Marathon at uk.virginsport.com/event/oxford-2017. Entry costs £40.
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Great South Run
Date for the diary: 22nd October 2017
What is it? While not as famous as its northern counterpart, the Great South Run is far easier to enter and three miles shorter. The 10-mile (16.1km) event takes place on the coast at Portsmouth and promises a fast and flat course.
Where is it? The race starts and finishes at Clarence Esplanade in Southsea, and runners pass HMS Victory, the Spinnaker Tower and Portsmouth Cathedral.
First step: Sign up for a spot at greatrun.org/great-south-run. Entry for the Great South Run costs £41.
Trick or Treat Run
Date for the diary: 28th October 2017
What is it? The spookiest run around Southwark Park you’ll ever experience. There are 2.5km and 5K events available, with the course of each littered with ghouls, witches and other assorted monsters. Cowards can opt for the afternoon run (start time 1.30pm), while the truly brave will tackle the evening run – which with a 5.30pm start is not quite the witching hour, but still scarier than a lunch run.
Where is it? Southwark Park in south London, which is well served by three Overground stations and two Underground stations. There’s nothing scary about planning a route to this event.
First step: Pick your distance and sign up at humanrace.co.uk. The 2.5km run costs £10, and the 5Ks are £19.
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The Poppy Run
Date for the diary: 28th October-5th November 2017
What is it? A series of 5K fun runs held across the country during the Remembrance period. Each run starts at 11am and is preceded by a two-minute silence.
Where is it? All over the place. There are three events in the north (York, Manchester and Leeds), two in the Midlands (Birmingham and Nottingham), one in Wales (Cardiff), six in the south (Portsmouth, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Southampton, Cheltenham and Chelmsford) and three in London. You can also join in by running 5K anywhere at any point in October or November.
First step: Find your local event and sign up at britishlegion.org.uk. Adult places cost £15.
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Date for the diary: 30th October-5th November 2017
What is it? Seven runs in seven days or, if that seems a bit much, you can opt to enter one, two, three or however many you like of the 7in7 events – all of which have a spooky, Halloween-related theme. Each day there are 10K, half marathon and full marathon distance runs available. Fancy dress is encouraged.
Where is it? All of the races take place on a six-mile (9.6km) course in Little Bowbrook, Worcestershire. There is water and food available after each loop and the terrain is mostly flat and on Tarmac.
First step: Have a good think about how many races you want to take part in, and then head to ultrarunningltd.co.uk to sign up. Opting for seven days of marathons is £175, seven days of half marathons is £140 and seven 10Ks is £115, while individual races cost £19-29.
Date for the diary: 4th-26th November 2017
What is it? If you plan on growing out your facial follicles this Movember, why not show them off at a MoRun? A series of 5K and 10K runs will be taking place all over the UK and Ireland, so grease your moustache (aerodynamics are key), grab your trainers and head for the start line of your local event.
Where is it? MoRuns will be taking place in 18 locations, including all of the UK and Ireland’s capitals. The first events are in Dublin, Leeds and Swinley Forest near Bracknell on 4th November, and the final runs are in Greenwich Park and Perth on 26th November.
First step: Grow a moustache (or stick one on, if that’s easier), then sign up for an event at mo-running.com. Entering a 5K costs £15, and a 10K £18.
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Burnham Beeches Run
Date for the diary: 4th November 2017
What is it? Tackle either 5K or 10K of undulating off-road terrain in Burnham Beeches, a natural woodland in Buckinghamshire.
Where is it? Burnham Beeches is a scenic place to visit all year round but it’s especially beautiful when the leaves change in autumn. Just try not to get so distracted by the colours above you that you trip up.
First step: Entry costs £14 for the 5K and £16 for the 10K. Sign up at burnhambeechesrun.co.uk.
Wolf Run Winter
Date for the diary: 4th-5th November 2017
What is it? There are four Wolf Runs a year, one for each season, and it’s fair to say that the winter event is the hardest of the lot. All of the 10K races take place off-road and require runners to overcome a mix of woodland trails, natural obstacles and water crossings. In summer those water crossing are a refreshing dip, but in winter they’re an icy nightmare.
Where is it? The Winter Wolf Run takes place in the grounds of the Stanford Hall estate in Leicestershire. There’s one race on the 4th and one on the 5th.
First step: Sign up at thewolfrun.com/winterwolf, where you can also see details on the 2018 spring, summer and autumn runs, if you’d prefer to take on a Wolf Run in one of the warmer seasons. Entry costs £29-59 depending on how early you register.
Date for the diary: 11th-12th November 2017
What is it? Run 10K on the Saturday or a half marathon on the Sunday – or, if you’re up to it, run both. Set in the expansive grounds of Tatton Park, the routes are traffic-free, quite flat and almost entirely on Tarmac.
Where is it? Both races take place in Tatton Park in Cheshire. There’s a lot to see in the grounds, including a neo-classical mansion, award-winning gardens and a 1,000-acre deer park. Keep your eyes peeled.
First step: It’s £20 to enter the 10K and £28 for the half marathon. For more info and to sign up visit runtatton.com.
Hertfordshire Half Marathon
Date for the diary: 19th November
What is it? You can relive the heights of Britpop while running 22.1km at this half marathon, which starts and finishes in the grounds of Knebworth House, where Oasis played to 250,000 people in 1996.
Where is it? There are some steep hills to climb on the closed-road course, which winds its way around the Herts countryside and the Knebworth House estate.
First step: The Hertfordshire Half costs £34 to enter, which you can do at hertshalf.com. Once you’ve done that, make an Oasis playlist for the race. Really it should only be songs from 1996 and before, so you’ll miss out on all their later classics like… actually you’ll be fine.
Glow Around The Castle
Date for the diary: 30th November 2017
What is it? A 5K race around Portchester Castle to raise money for a defibrillator for the parkruns at nearby Fareham and Lee-on-the-Solent. Runners supporting running events – lovely stuff. The run starts at seven in the evening, so grab some glowsticks and don your finest neon running gear for the event.
Where is it? The run is at Portchester Castle, a medieval fortification overlooking Portsmouth Harbour. The event isn’t timed, so feel free to ease off the gas and enjoy the run.
First step: Secure a spot in the run by signing up at racebest.com. Entry costs £5.
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And Three Events To Get You Excited For 2018
Big Bear Challenge
Date for the diary: 1st February 2018
What is it? Runners aim to complete as many 3.3-mile (5.3km) laps of the out-and-back trail course as they can in six hours. That means your day can consist of one quick lap and a lot of celebrating/cheering on other runners, or a gruelling marathon (eight laps), or even longer.
Where is it? The race is set in the grounds of Ryton Pools Country Park in Warwickshire. The course is mainly crushed stone, with some single-track sections.
First step: Head to bigbearevents.net to sign up – it costs £20 until the end of 2017, then £22 until the end of January 2018. Once you’ve done that, start planning how many laps you’re going to run.
Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon
Date for the diary: March 2018
What is it? A 13.1-mile road race through historic Cambridge that sold out at lightning speed this year. Even more impressive was that it was the biggest yet, with 9,000 runners taking to the tarmac.
Where is it? A real whistle-stop of the city past Victoria Avenue, The Backs, Grantchester and Market Square, finishing up on Midsummer Common.
First step: With all spots snapped up for 2017, add osbevents.com to your internet favourites and keep checking back for the 2018 event.
Virgin Money London Marathon
Date for the diary: 22nd April 2018
What is it? C’mon, it’s the big daddy! The Boss! The full marathon we all dream of entering, with a whacking great 40,000 actually making it to the start line each year.
Where is it? The Big Smoke, as the name would suggest. Many a capital landmark will be run past, including Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and much of the Thames.
First step: The ballot opens the week after the previous marathon, which is on 23rd April 2017. Enter at virginmoneylondonmarathon.com and keep those fingers crossed.
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