25 May 2014
It’s just what the doctor ordered: a bracing run with large lungfuls of fresh sea air that’s got spades of PB potential. Dubbed ‘the fastest marathon in the UK’ due to its downhill start and flat finish, Scotland’s largest road race is an annual sell-out. Don’t miss the pre-race Comedy ‘n’ Carbs evening that, promise organisers, ‘will make you wet your shorts!’
Lakeland Trails Marathon
6 July 2014
Always dreamed of visiting the cute-as-pie Cumbrian countryside that’s home to Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Beatrix Potter’s adorable hedgehog washerwoman? Then you’ll love this tough yet inspiring race based on a circuit of Coniston Water, the third-largest lake in the Lake District. Luckily, there are two cut-offs (one after eight hours, another after six) so Jemima Puddleduck-like waddlers are warmly welcomed, too.
Angkor Empire Marathon
17 August 2014
Don’t be put off by the ungodly4.30am start! This Cambodian race becomes more godly with every step, as the route takes in the many spectacular temples of this World Heritage Site. Starting at the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple, the circular route passes through the South Gate of Angkor Thom (the 12th-century capital of the Khmer Empire) and also takes in the Royal Palace and a traditional Khmer village. Unmissable!
24 August 2014
This event’s race director has completed an incredible 250 marathons, so he knows a thing or two about what makes a good race great. Calling itself ‘the friendly marathon in the heart of Ireland’, you can expect welcoming locals, gentle undulations through calendar-worthy countryside and even a post-race party in a pub where you can enjoy a night of carousing, craic – and PB comparisons.
Courses du Pays du Coquelicot (Races of the Poppy Country)
7 September 2014
What better way to honour the fallen soldiers of the First World War during this year’s centenary commemorations than by running through the deeply symbolic poppy fields of the Somme? Starting in Albert, the hilly, off-road route of the ‘Maratrail’ bisects the battlefields where 420,000 British servicemen lost their lives and passes many WW1 historic sites, including the moving Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval.
Birmingham Canal Canter
13 September 2014
Amazingly Birmingham has more canals than Venice, so this is your chance to explore them in what must be the most bargainous race in Britain. For just £12 you get not only a fully marshalled, one-loop marathon that’s 97 per cent off-road along some of England’s prettiest waterways, but there are also five checkpoints supplying bevvies and ‘simple food’ (including breakfast), plus a hot meal at the finish. Wow!
Helly Hansen Beauty and the Beast
13 September 2014
Dare you tame the beast? We’d like to see you try! The ‘Beauty’ in this by-now legendary trail challenge refers to its stunning setting: the woodlands and meadows of West Wycombe Park. The ‘Beast’, meanwhile, is a nod to its truly tortuous ascent. And as you do six laps (three for the half-marathon option), you get to experience them an agonising half a dozen times.
14 September 2014
Soak up the stunning views of the Jurassic Coast and surrounding area with this largely off-road trail run that’s as rewarding as it is challenging. The circular course starts in Swanage, Dorset, and includes about 3,000ft of climbs, but it’s well signposted and marshalled. It’s tough, but you can ease your aches afterwards with a post-race swim in the sea.
Cape Town Marathon
21 September 2014
Run this race in what must be one of the world’s prettiest cities and you’ll definitely understand why Sir Francis Drake once called it ‘the fairest cape’. With the imposing presence of Table Mountain as a backdrop, the imaginative new route showcases all the city’s major sites, ranging from City Hall (where Nelson Mandela made his first public speech on his release) to the silky-sanded beaches of Camps Bay to the V&A Waterfront, a working harbour packed with restaurants, pubs and shops that’s South Africa’s most popular tourist attraction.
Join the Women’s Running UK community for more comment, analysis and race information direct to your inbox. Follow us on twitter via @womensrunninguk