Best UK races in March

Half Wood Paddock

If you are a Spring Marathoner or a PB Half Marathon Chaser, open your journal and jot down this event as it is perfect for your needs. This popular race has been around since 1989 and follows a fast, flat course through the Kent countryside from the village of Paddock Wood. It starts and ends right next to the station and there are trains to and from London every half hour or so. No hassle with arranging lifts or parking means all the more space to focus on that PB or that final pre-marathon race.

Paddock Wood, Kent, March 13, paddockwoodhalfmarathon.co.uk

Wrexham 20 miles

We like a finish on a proper athletics track, and for this event you get a start, middle and finish on hallowed rubber. The 20 mile is two loops from the road to the Wrexham Industrial Estate, and we promise this run isn’t as gruesome as the words ‘industrial estate’ suggest. There’s quite a bit of beautiful Welsh countryside to cover before you get there – all the more time to prepare for the big finish on the track, with a jaw-dropping Roger Bannister-style dive for the line just at the end.

Wrexham, Denbighshire, March 6, runwales.com

JOGGING

You can tell your grandkids about any of your racing exploits, but here’s one they might really care about. The John o’ Groats to Land’s End (JOGLE) race is an 860-mile crossing of Britain from top to bottom, and in this event you’ll do it in 17 days. Accommodation and food are provided, so you only have to find a way to run about 80 km a day for nearly three weeks. It’s not something we’ve ever done, so we don’t speak with much authority when we say it’s probably quite difficult. Who knows, however? Maybe it suddenly becomes very easy after 500 miles.

John o’ Groats, Caithness, March 18-April 3, ultrarunningltd.co.uk

SPAR Craic 10K

The concept of ‘craic’ is difficult for non-Irish people to grasp. Basically, it’s synonymous with “fun”, but in reality it’s more complex than that. For example, while running is fun, it usually doesn’t involve much craicing for the simple fact that craicing requires some degree of human interaction and running is often a solo endeavor. Now you might have a bit of a craic with another runner along the way, but the majority of craic in this event will be at the start and finish lines, perhaps with a few spectators along the course of the town hall at Ormeau Park in Belfast, but most likely the craic will be waiting for you in the pub afterwards – especially considering it’s St Patrick’s Day. Sláinte!

Belfast, County Antrim, March 17, aisling-events.com

Wolves FC 10K at Molineux Stadium

This inaugural event is for runners of all skill levels, so it could be a great way for regular parkrunners to transition into longer distances. Or maybe you’re like us and just a little obsessed with finishing races in a football stadium. Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Molineux is a beautiful old ground, built in 1889 and steeped in English football history. Make sure you have at least one friend or family member at the finish line chanting your name loud enough to reverberate in the stands.

Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, March 27, wolves10k.com

hell in the woods

Wait, come back! It’s not as bad as it sounds! Hell isn’t so muddy, for one thing, and it certainly isn’t quite as pretty. This 15 miles through rolling Northumberland woodland is a real challenge on a variety of terrains, so dust off those trail shoes so you can do them nice and really muddy. The route constantly twists and turns, so you’ll go from views of the Cheviots to the north to thick woods and wet shorelines in moments, while climbing an impressive total of 750m in elevation.

Thrunton, Northumberland, March 6, hellinthewoods.run

Endurance Life Sussex

Trail runners and walkers from the Southeast and beyond will be very familiar with the breathtaking beauty of the Seven Sisters. They will also know all about the constant ascents and descents along these magnificent white cliffs, making them perfect for a typically tough Endurancelife event. There’s a 10K, a half, a marathon and an ultra, all of which start and finish just outside Eastbourne and include a strenuous amount of climbing – but the views will certainly be worth it.

Eastbourne, East Sussex, March 19, endurancelife.com

Jurassic Coast Challenge

A three-day event running east along the Jurassic Coast from Charmouth, each with a distance of around a marathon, is unquestionably a mammoth undertaking. But the organizers of this event have structured it in such a way that it is doable even for newcomers to multi-day events. The route is very well marked, there are food and drink checkpoints every 10km or so, transport to and from the start and finish lines is included, and there are hours of earlier start for quieter walkers and runners.

Charmouth, Dorset, March 25-27, votwo.co.uk

The steepest street race in the world

The street in question is Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech, and has a maximum gradient of 37.45%. You’ll probably feel like you’re running up a cliff through molasses with a sack of potatoes on your back and Welsh dragons tugging at your ankles, but luckily that happens at the start of the run so all the climbing will be over after 2 km of the total 6.2 km. From the top, you’ll have lovely views of the Irish Sea as you descend to finish at Harlech Castle, knowing you’ve conquered the world’s steepest road race.

Harlech, Merionethshire, March 26, alwaysaimhighevents.com

‘Grimnificent’ Seven

Here is a series of ambitious events for you – a whole week of running a marathon or a half marathon every day. Races take place in a selection of quiet and scenic reservoirs in Yorkshire, and if you don’t feel up to running a marathon a day, you can choose which events you want to ensure you have plenty of time to recovery.

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, March 14-20, itsgrimupnorthrunning.co.uk

D33 Ultra

The organizers of this event make it so simple: “Go to the Duthie Park car park in Aberdeen and sign in and walk the first section of Deeside Road to Banchory, check in with the marshal, turn around and come back while running. Well, that’s about it, but doing this simple task will require covering 52km over a variety of different terrains – which will include mud if it’s been raining the previous days. But with no navigation required and a mostly flat surface, this is a great entry-level event for any ultra-curious marathon runners.

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, March 12, deesidewayultra.webnode.com

Cousin Jack Classic VI

A ‘Cousin Jack’ is a colloquial term for an emigrant from Cornish in the 19th and 20th centuries, many of whom ended up in mines across the Americas. Fittingly, this run to commemorate them takes place on Saint Piran’s Day, who is the patron saint of Cornish and tin miners. The race runs from St Just to St Ives (28.7km), with an ultra option to double the distance by running both legs. The exceptionally challenging coastal route involves lots of ups and downs, and passes several old tin mines that would have been full of hard-working Cousin Jacks in years past.

St Just, Cornwall, March 5, bysvykenevents.vpweb.co.uk

Carlisle Half Marathon and 10K

Another football stadium ends here, this time at Carlisle United’s Brunton Park. Go Blues! The racing calendar is still suffering from a lack of downtown events thanks to the pandemic, and while Carlisle isn’t big enough to host an all-urban event, it does a great job of finding a route that fits. sneaks into the heart of the city. Half heads into the countryside as the 10K loops back to the stadium, and with a largely flat road course, you never know a PB could happen.

Carlisle, Cumbria, March 13, carlislehalf.co.uk

The Coniston 14

You can’t really run a race in the Lake District without marketing it as one of the finest in the country. This one, however, was one of the originals. It’s been looping the hilly route around Coniston Water – little more than a half marathon – since 1982 and has been a fundraising powerhouse for local charities for decades. Oh, and of course it’s one of the finest races in the country.

Coniston, Cumbria, March 26, coniston14.co.uk

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