Top Marathons in the UK – Part 1

The whole world knows about the London Marathon, but you may not be aware it is not alone as long distance races that are held each year in the UK. Marathon races are held all over the British Isles from Northern Ireland to Wales, and from England to Scotland. In this blog we take a look at some of the best marathon races that are held in Britain annually, some are better known than others and some are seriously challenging races.

The London Marathon

Having crossed the finish line, athletes make their way down The Mall to collect their medals. The Virgin Money London Marathon, Sunday 24th April 2016.
Photo: Jed Leicester for Virgin Money London Marathon

One of the most famous road races in the world is the London Marathon, and competitors make their way from every corner of the globe to run on London’s historic streets. This race is a benchmark marathon, and people judge just how good a marathon runner you are by how you fared in this race.The London Marathon provides one of the biggest wow factors in world sport as the iconic buildings and sheer number of competitors all contribute to an awesome event. The layout of the course is also special as it is an A to B event, and not just running around a loop. So famous sights such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Tower Bridge come thick and fast.

Robin Hood Marathon

Our next marathon takes us to historic Nottingham, where again there are many iconic sights to see. Nottingham Castle dominates proceedings, and the race takes you past the two football stadiums of Nottingham Forest and Notts County. Then as the competitors wind their way around the course more sporting venues are included, such as Trent Bridge Cricket Ground and the famous Nottingham Race Course. The marathon includes a half-marathon which is run simultaneously and this tends to make race times very competitive.

Mablethorpe Marathon

Not far from Nottingham is the coastal town of Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire, and its claim to fame is that it is the  flattest marathon course in the UK. This means that many runners like to run the race as it is one of the best places to achieve a personal best time (PB). Mablethorpe is not a grand place such as London or Nottingham, but its charm lies in the seaside-resort feel it gives to the event. Take the old familiar funfair, and the funny looking Victorian beach huts that all add a certain Britishness to the occasion.

Beachy Head Marathon

This is one of the most challenging marathons in the UK, starting from the ominous near-vertical climb at the start, the race is totally off road and it tests even the grittiest endurance runner. The Beachy Head Marathon starts at the coastal town of Eastbourne and then takes you off into the East Sussex countryside, past quaint English villages, to finish along the beautiful Seven Sisters cliffs. This race is all about completion and not setting personal best times or improving running technique, there is a great camaraderie among the competitors as it is all about survival, few runners have ever broken the three hours mark.