Once again we lace up our running shoes and take to Britain’s roads and countryside to experience some of the very best marathons that are run in the UK. In the first part of this blog we saw how diverse Britain’s marathon courses can be. From the historic landmarks of the famous London streets, to the beautiful and wild countryside of East Sussex. Britain’s marathons offer everything to the keen runner, places to set personal best times and places that the best you can hope for is to simply complete the race.
What can be more quintessentially English than Shakespeare, and the place of his birth which is Stratford-upon-Avon is the venue for this great race. The course takes the runners through the old market streets in a two lap scenario.The old wooden buildings painted black and white could be straight from Shakespeare’s time, and some of them actually are. Stratford-upon-Avon is a beautiful place and many competitors come back year after year to run the Shakespeare Marathon.
Mount Snowdon provides the perfect backdrop for this most challenging of marathons. Mount Snowdon is the highest peak in Wales and as you would expect this is a grueling course. It all begins at the start where the first four miles of the race are uphill. The scenery along the way is awesome, and many runners think that if you can complete the race without walking then you have conquered the Snowdonia Marathon. The hardest obstacle is the fearsome Welsh Wall that happens to be a one-in-three road that seems to go vertically up in the air.
We cross over the Irish Sea from Wales to Northern Ireland for our next marathon. Belfast is a stunningly beautiful city and the local people make all marathon competitors as welcome as possible. The course runs through notorious places that were famous during the troubled past of Belfast, names such as the Shankill Road are enough to send a shiver down the spine. However, this is the whole point of this race, for the city to show the world how much it has progressed in recent years. And the fact that it is run on May Day, means that there is a festival feel to the whole city.
White Peak Marathon
This Derbyshire marathon mostly takes place in the beautiful landscape of the Peak District National Park, and for many miles it winds its way along the picturesque Tissington Trail. All this may sound very quaint but this is a grueling and tough race. Most of the marathon is raced uphill, in fact only the three miles around Cromford is relatively flat, the other twenty three miles will test even the strongest marathon runner. The White Peak Marathon is not particularly well known and that is one of its biggest attractions, many competitors feel like they are joining a private club and treasure their experience for life.
These are just some of the great marathon races that are held annually in the UK, there are many more held all over the British Isles that are both challenging and fun and they will take you through the vastly varying landscapes that make up Britain.