Date for the diary: 1st-2nd September, 29th-30th September and 3rd-4th November 2018
What is it? Wolf Runs are a combination of trail running and obstacle course races. Those obstacles include plenty of the natural variety, so expect to get very wet and muddy – especially if you opt for the winter event – as you power through woodland, fields and lakes.
Where is it? The early September Wolf Run is held at Welsh Road Farm near Leamington Spa in Warwickshire. The late September run is in Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, and the summer and winter events are at the Stanford Hall Estate in Leicestershire.
First step: Head to thewolfrun.com to pick your event and sign up. Entry costs between £45 and £65 depending on how early you book.
Salomon Trail Running Festivals
Dates for the diary: 2nd June, 23rd June 2018
What is it? A celebration of all things off-road. Salomon’s one-day festivals involve talks about trail running and technique tips, as well as plenty of actual running. You can join a guided run (10km, 20km or ultra) or enter a timed 10K or 20km. Once you’re back at the festival in the evening there’s live music and a bar to enjoy.
Where is it? The two UK events in 2018 are based in Edinburgh’s Pentland Hills (2nd June) and Box Hill, Surrey (23rd June).
First step: Get more details about the events and buy your ticket at salomonrunfest.com. Spectators can attend for free, and it costs £25 for entry and a spot in the 10K or 20km run, and £50 for entry and a spot in the ultra.
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Run To The Deep
Date for the diary: 8th June 2018
What is it? An evening 10K around Hyde Park where participants are taken on a journey to the bottom of the ocean floor while listening to a free partner app. Narrated by explorer Pierre-Yves Cousteau, this tell you about the fascinating and often downright bizarre creatures that inhabit the space between the sea surface and the furthest depths of the Marianas Trench.
Where is it? The race starts from the bandstand in Hyde Park in central London.
First step: Sign up at eventbrite.co.uk. Entry costs £25, which is a donation to the British Science Association.
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Adidas City Runs 1 Hour
Date for the diary: 17th June 2018
What is it? Something a little different for the urban running crowd to try. This one pits you against the clock, rather than a certain distance, seeing how many laps of a one-mile circuit you can complete in an hour.
Where is it? Given that you’re going to get very well acquainted with the course, it’s good that Adidas has picked a route that crams in several great London landmarks, the highlight being St Paul’s Cathedral where each lap starts and finishes. You’ll also pass the Bank of England and Guildhall.
First step: Entry for the event costs £40 and you can sign up at adidascityruns.com. Then start working out how far you think you might be able to get.
Great Team Relay
Date for the diary: 4th July 2018
What is it? A 5K relay set in and around the Olympic Stadium. Four team members tackle a leg apiece, with the baton changeover happening on the track, where hopefully there will be thousands of supporters cheering you on.
Where is it? The 5K course is a loop around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that starts and finishes inside the main stadium, so you can relive epic moments like Usain Bolt’s 100m gold in 2012, or West Ham’s 1-1 draw with Stoke earlier this year.
First step: It costs £100 to enter as a team of four, and this also includes entry to the stadium for four supporters. You can enter as a male, female or mixed team (the last of those has to be two men, two women to count). Head to greatteamrelay.com to enter.
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The Color Run
Date for the diary: 8th July
What is it? A 5K run in which all participants are showered with coloured powder. There are no winners or times – it’s all about having fun.
Where is it? Wembley Park in north-west London – just imagine how colourful the Tube back to the centre of the capital will be.
First step: Sign up at thecolorrun.co.uk, making sure you don’t add a rogue/correct U to the word “color” when you type the address. It costs £23 for a solo runner and £21 per person if you enter as a team.
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The British 10K
Date for the diary: 15th July 2018
What is it? A summer 10K in the heart of London, with live music at every kilometre marker to spur runners on.
Where is it? The very centre of London, with runners passing landmarks like Big Ben and Trafalgar Square en route.
First step: Sign up for the race on the Virgin Sport website. Entry costs £44.
Date for the diary: 3rd August 2018
What is it? Just one mile – how hard can it be? Very hard, it turns out. Put it this way: on a track or a flat road you’d expect someone to have to run well under five minutes to win a one-mile race. On this insane uphill course, 2017’s winner ran the mile in 8min 24sec, and second place took 9min 11sec. This has a very good claim to the title of Britain’s hardest one-mile race.
Where is it? In south Wales near Wattsville. The race is put on by the Islwyn Running Club.
First step: For more info visit islwynrunningclub.org.uk/murder-mile. There will be online entry available for the race later in the year or you can print an entry form. It costs £5 to enter.
Asda Foundation York 10K
Date for the diary: 5th August 2018
What is it? A 10K around York, which easily makes the top five of Britain’s most scenic cities. Probably top three.
Where is it? The race begins at York racecourse, from where it’s about 3km into the heart of the city and landmarks like the Minster and Clifford’s Tower, before looping back to the racecourse to finish.
First step: Head to runforall.com to book your spot. Entry costs £30.
Race The Train Tywyn
Date for the diary: 18th August 2018
What is it? 22.5km (14 miles) of muddy trail running in the Welsh countryside, with the aim of running from Tywyn to Abergynolwyn and back faster than a steam train completes the same journey (on tracks, of course).
Where is it? Race the Train starts and finishes in Tywyn on the Cardigan Coast in mid Wales. As well as tackling the race itself, book in some time to explore the coast and the southern reaches of Snowdonia while you’re there.
First step: Entry costs £32. Head to racethetrain.com to sign up.
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Shelter Urban Rush
Date for the diary: 2nd September, 23rd September and 7th October 2018
What is it? The popular London event is spreading its wings and laying on 15-milers (24.1km) in Edinburgh and Manchester as well. The routes are point-to-point, rather than a closed loop, so you get to see a lot more of the city you’re running in.
Where is it? The first event is in Edinburgh and the course runs along the coast from Queensferry to Holyrood Park in the city centre, so you can climb Arthur’s Seat afterwards if you have any energy left. The Manchester route follows the canals from the Portland Basin Museum to the docks, while the London event starts in the Olympic Park and follows the Thames through the City and West End to finish in Putney.
First step: The price of entry is currently £29, but will rise to £39 or £49 depending on how late you leave it. Sign up at england.shelter.org.uk.
Great North Run
Date for the diary: 9th September 2018
What is it? It’s the biggest half marathon in the world.
Where is it? The race starts in Newcastle and finishes on the coast at South Shields, with a massive crowd of supporters cheering you on the entire way.
First step: There are a few ways to get a place in the Great North Run, the most common of which is to enter the ballot, which runs from Wednesday 3rd January until noon on Monday 5th February. This costs £55, which you only pay if you get a spot in the race. Those who ran the race in 2017 can sign up to become Great North Run members for £65, which guarantees priority entry for the next three years. The other option is to run for charity – you can see which organisations have places on the Great North Run website.
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Northampton Half Marathon
Date for the diary: 9th September 2018
What is it? Exactly what you’d expect – a half marathon around Northampton’s town centre and the surrounding countryside.
Where is it? The race starts in front of the Guildhall, then heads out to greener pastures before returning to town to finish in the grounds of Delapre Abbey.
First step: It’s £30 to sign up for the race online, and £35 if you leave it until the day. Save yourself a fiver at northamptonhalfmarathon.co.uk.
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Bacchus Half Marathon And Marathon
Date for the diary: 9th September 2018
What is it? England’s answer to the Marathon du Médoc, the famous French race where participants run in fancy dress and drink 23 glasses of wine over the course of the 42.2km. Participants in the Bacchus Marathon, on the other hand, get the chance to try 12 different English wines during the race (and they say we have the drinking problem). Fancy dress is still absolutely encouraged.
Where is it? Denbies Vineyard, near Dorking in Surrey. Marathon and half marathon runners complete the same course, with participants in the longer race going round twice. Be warned – there is a 2hr 20min cut-off at the halfway mark in the Bacchus Marathon and you’re expected to complete it in five hours, which seems pretty fast when you’re drinking a dozen glasses of wine along the way.
First step: It costs £47 to enter either race. Book your place in this boozy extravaganza at runbacchus.com.
Date for the diary: 15th-16th September
What is it? A trio of cracking races around Richmond including sections in Kew Gardens – in fact the 10K race is set entirely in Kew, which makes it one of the most picturesque (and flat) 10K routes in the capital. The 10K takes place on the Saturday, and the half and full marathons are on the Sunday.
Where is it? All three races start in Kew Gardens. The half marathon and marathon leave the gardens and follow the Thames out to Teddington Lock (half marathon) and Hampton Court (marathon) before turning back to finish just outside Kew Gardens.
First step: Pick your distance and sign up at richmondrunningfestival.com. The 10K costs £39.50, the half marathon £37 and the marathon £45.50. The 10K is more expensive than the half because you also get entry into Kew Gardens with your race place, while the longer distance runners aren’t allowed readmittance.
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Loch Ness Marathon
Date for the diary: 23rd September 2018
What is it? The only marathon in the world where you have a chance of seeing Nessie while running. It’s a small chance, sure, but even if you don’t spot any mythical monsters, you will definitely get an eyeful of stunning scenery.
Where is it? The Loch Ness Marathon is a point-to-point race along the shore that finishes in the centre of Inverness. Since you’re running in the Highlands, it’s only natural to expect some uphills – but the highest point of the route is the startline, so in one sense it’s all downhill from there. Just not in a factually accurate sense.
First step: Sign up at lochnessmarathon.com before 1st July 2018. Entry costs £52, which includes transport to the marathon start line.
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Kielder Marathon, Half Marathon And 10K
Date for the diary: 6th-7th October 2018
What is it? The most beautiful marathon in Britain according to the organisers, and once you’ve completed the run around Kielder Water in Northumberland you might well be inclined to agree with them.
Where is it? Kielder Water is the UK’s largest man-made lake. Only those who tackle the full marathon at this running festival will manage to get all the way round it. All of the events are mostly off-road and pretty hilly, so forget a PB attempt and just enjoy the surroundings.
First step: Book your spot in the 10K (£27), half marathon (£35) or marathon (£41) at kieldermarathon.com.
Cardiff Half Marathon
Date for the diary: 7th October 2018
What is it? The second-largest half marathon in the UK, with 25,000 runners taking part in the race in 2017.
Where is it? The race starts by Cardiff Castle, which is one of many sights runners get to see on their way to the finish in the city centre.
First step: Despite the massive field, the Cardiff Half Marathon sold out several months before race day in 2017, so make sure you don’t miss out by signing up at cardiffhalfmarathon.co.uk. Entry costs £41.
Oxford Half Marathon
Date for the diary: 8th October 2018
What is it? Like the Hackney Half Marathon in May, this Virgin Sport event is about more than the 22.1km of running. Well, it is for the spectators at least, because there’s a festival at the finish line involving local food, drinks, live music and free fitness classes.
Where is it? Er, Oxford, which is a small enough city that you can see most of the major landmarks in the city in the course of running a half marathon.
First step: You can register your interest in running the Oxford Half Marathon in 2018 on the Virgin Sport website so you’re notified when entry opens.
The Running Festival At Goodwood
Date for the diary: 14th October 2018
What is it? One for petrolheads this, with the option of taking on a 10K or a half marathon around the historic Goodwood Motor Circuit. The 10K race is 2½ laps of the track, and the half marathon is 5½ laps.
Where is it? The circuit is outside Chichester in West Sussex, near the South Downs National Park, so it’s worth making a weekend of it and running some trails as well as the race track.
First step: Choose your distance – having run a half marathon at Silverstone we recommend going for the 10K, because the long Tarmac straights can start to mess with your mind after a while – and sign up at ukrunevents.co.uk. It costs £20 for the 10K and £28 for the half marathon if you book before 28th February.
The Eden Marathon And Half Marathon
Date for the diary: 14th October 2018
What is it? Unlike residents of Greater London, runners in Cornwall aren’t exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to mass participation races, but this mini festival based at the Eden Project stands out as one of the finest events anywhere in the UK.
Where is it? The races start and finish at the Eden Project, exploring the countryside around the site in between. It’s hilly, but try to save some energy for after you’ve finished, when you’ll be able to explore to the Eden Project’s massive indoor rainforest.
First step: Registration for this year’s event will open early in 2018 so keep an eye on the Eden Project website.
Royal Parks Foundation Half
Date for the diary: 14th October 2018
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
Great South Run
Date for the diary: 21st October 2018
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 £42.
Marlow Half Marathon And Marlow 7
Date for the diary: 4th November 2018
What is it? A pair of races – a half marathon and a seven-mile (11.2km) run – around the Chiltern Hills hosted by Marlow Striders running club. You can expect a lot of uphill and downhill running, for which you will be rewarded with some cracking views.
Where is it? Both races start and finish in the centre of Marlow in south Buckinghamshire and head for the hills in between. There is over 300m of uphill running in store in the half marathon, so this is definitely a race to endure and hopefully enjoy, rather than going a PB opportunity.
First step: Choose your race and enter at marlowhalf.marlowstriders.co.uk. It’s £18 for the seven-mile run and £27 for the half marathon.
Date for the diary: 30th December 2018
What is it? A 10K or ten-mile mostly off-road slog through muddy fields. An effective way to work off all the extra calories consumed over Christmas, in short.
Where is it? Both runs take place at Butlers Lands Farm in Berkshire, with the high/lowlight of both being the final 400m of the route across a particularly muddy cabbage patch.
First step: Add it to your Christmas list and direct Santa to the race entry page. It costs £27 to run the 10K and £30 to tackle the ten-mile event.