2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the London Marathon, an event that will shine a spotlight on Britain’s great running events and sporting heritage. Whether you’re a joyful spectator or a cardio-obsessed runner, there are a number of outstanding marathons and fell runs to add to the fitness calendar this year, making it the best time to go for gold on a trip to Britain!
Welcoming more than 40,000 runners and 750,000 spectators each April, the London Marathon is the biggest race event in Britain. With runners sporting wild and whacky costumes whizzing through iconic locations, and an energy likened to ‘Britain’s biggest street party’, this is a race peppered with unforgettable moments. Held on 26 April, top places to watch the event include along the River Thames, Greenwich, Tower Bridge and the regal Mall, next to St James’s Park.
Celebrating all things fitness and movement related, Hackney Moves is a three-day festival of fitness on the Hackney Marshes. A much-loved event, the festival incorporates a free community run (16 May) and the official Hackney Half run, which will take to the streets of Dalston, Haggerston and Hackney Wick on Sunday 17 May.
Want to soak up the atmosphere of a group run in the tranquil surroundings of London’s famous green spaces? Held on 11 October, the Royal Parks Half Marathon could be just the ticket. An opportunity for both runners and spectators to experience these beautiful oases in all their autumnal glory, the route will pass through leafy locations such as Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens, as well as must-see sights including the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.
Encompassing the splendour of the Northumberland wilderness and at more than double the distance of a full marathon, Race to the Castle is a running event unlike any other. Held on 6-7 July, this 100km coastal route immerses you in the region’s staggering natural beauty as you roam along St Oswald’s Way to historic Bamburgh Castle, with the option to complete the trail over one or two days, or take it as a 50km route on either day if preferred.
One for high-energy party animals, Love Trails is a festival combining cardio adventures, wellness activities and music. On 2-5 July, take part in wild off-road fell runs ranging from three to 55km by day, and enjoy a selection of active and mindful activities, interesting talks, delicious food and dance-inducing music by night.
Set in England’s only natural World Heritage Site, Run Jurassic is a three-day celebration of running, taking place across Dorset’s breathtaking Jurassic Coast on 25-27 September. This year fitness fanatics have the choice of ultra marathon, classic marathon and half marathon distances, as well as a 10K and the Run Jurassic Kids race, with highlights en route including Durdle Door, Chesil Beach and Golden Cap.
For a chance to see some of Britain’s most beautiful architecture while on the run or cheering among a pumped-up crowd, check out the culturally rich Oxford Half Marathon. With a route that passes along the city centre, over the picturesque river, through a quaint local village and back to the spellbinding University buildings, you can experience both a running challenge and a day of sightseeing on 11 October.
Those looking for a challenge can push themselves to new heights with the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, known as a ‘marathon with mountains’. This 23-mile fell run or walking route is organised for groups throughout the year, taking you over some of north England’s most impressive peaks: Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside.