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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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.
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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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London Santa Dash
Date for the diary: 3rd December 2017
What is it? You might have spent this year working hard to bring down your 5K and 10K times, but have you set a PB for either distance wearing a Santa Claus costume? Well, here’s your chance to do so – while raising funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Where is it? Both fun runs take place on Clapham Common. Santa costumes will be provided, and you also get a mulled drink and mince pie at the finish line.
First step: Head on over to gosh.org and book your spot. Adult places cost £18.75.
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.
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Cancer Research UK London Winter Run
Date for the diary: 4th February 2018
What is it? The first major closed-road race of the year in London and a great motivator to keep you running through the coldest months. Penguins and polar bears litter the course (not real ones, obviously), and a snow cannon fires to send each wave of starters on their way, which all adds up to a festive and suitably wintry atmosphere.
Where is it? The 10K route starts in Trafalgar Square and heads east to St Paul’s Cathedral before turning back to finish on Whitehall. It’s basically landmarks all the way, though you’ll probably be too distracted by the people dressed as penguins to notice them.
First step: Sign up at londonwinterrun.co.uk – standard entry costs £40.
Northumberland Coastal Trail Run
Date for the diary: 24th February 2018
What is it? The most northerly event in the Endurance Life Coastal Trail Series. There are 10K, half marathon, marathon and ultra races available, but be sure to check the exact details, because these are just a general guide and the actual distance could be longer or shorter.
Where is it? As you’d expect from the name, you’ll be running along the coast of Northumberland, with all the races finishing in the grounds of Bamburgh Castle. You’ll enjoy stunning views throughout as you run through the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
First step: Enter the race at endurancelife.com. Prices run from £33 for the 10K to £66 for the ultra.
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The Big Half
Date for the diary: 4th March 2018
What is it? The most exciting new race on London’s 2018 calendar, the Big Half is a closed-road race and, in the words of the organisers, “a street party of epic proportions.” Sounds like fun.
Where is it? The race starts at Tower Bridge and heads out to Canary Wharf, then comes back to Tower Bridge to cross into Southwark. From there it follows the river down to the finish by the Cutty Sark in Greenwich.
First step: General entries have sold out, but there are still charity and community places available. For more info head to thebighalf.co.uk.
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Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon
Date for the diary: 4th 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: All the spots have been snapped up for 2018, but you can still run (and fundraise) Cancer Research UK. Visit cancerresearchuk.org for details.
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 London Marathon ballot opens the week after the previous marathon for a week – so it’s been and gone. You can still make it to the start line by running for a charity. Start with the charity listings at virginmoneylondonmarathon.com.
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Date for the diary: 22nd April 2018
What is it? If you’ve come to this page in search of a race to fill the gaping hole left by missing out on the London Marathon, we recommend giving the Blackpool Marathon a whirl. If it’s not for you, we do have a wide selection of other UK marathons to pick from too.
Where is it? The two-lap course is fast, flat and sticks rigidly to the coastline for sea views throughout.
First step: Sign up for the race at fyldecoastrunners.com/blackpool-marathon. Entry is £34.
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Odlo Glentress 11
Date for the diary: 25th May 2018
What is it? An 11km trail run in the charming surroundings of the Glentress Forest in the Scottish Borders. Be prepared for hills – the route climbs 375m, mostly in the first half. There is also a 5K event if 11km seems too much. This is only the second edition of the race after it launched last year, when it was won by a very handsome and impressive, although not particularly modest, athlete who also happens to cover running events for Coach.
Where is it? The route starts and finishes in Peebles, 23km south of Edinburgh. The steep climbing is tough on the legs of even the handsomest of athletes, but you are rewarded with some stunning views.
First step: Entry costs £25 for the 11km, sign up at tweedlove.com.
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.