Let’s just put it this way, by summer I will be lacing up my trainers and popping out for a quick run in the sun. Until then, it’s the pool, Pilates and cycling on a stationary bike for a couple of weeks at least. So here are 5 spring races I’ll be watching out for from the sidelines otherwise known as “5 spring/summer races I would be running if I wasn’t in a Storm Trooper boot”.
- Lidl Kingston Breakfast Run, 3 April 2016
As much as I bemoan the fact this race is a bugger to get to, especially if you live in North London, it is the perfect prep for any London Marathoners. It’s been going for a number of years now and the race organisers definitely know what they’re doing. This year, you have the choice of three distances – 8.2 miles, 16.2 miles and 20.1 miles. Starting off in the friendly town of Kingston-Upon-Thames, where if you’re lucky you can grab a quick coffee and go for a pee beforehand, the course is flat and fast. You do either one or two loops (with a little extra for 20.1 miles) depending on the distance you’ve chosen. Some people say it’s not that exciting a race but I really enjoy the pleasant run along the Thames up past Hampton Court and back round towards Kingston again. You may not get a medal at the end however, as controversial as it sounds, the race mug alternative is way more practical. I currently have two on my desk at work. You also get a goody bag packed full of Lidl treats. There’s still time to enter the 8.2 miles and 16.2 mile races so jump to it.
- Hackney Half Marathon, 8 May 2016
Head to where the cool kids hang out for 13.1 miles of music, fun and community. It’s also one of the best ways to see what’s new in this ever-emerging part of town. Honestly, if you went to Hackney even a year ago, you’d be astonished at how much as changed. Starting off near Westfield Stratford, in Hackney Marshes, you head right through the heart of Hackney towards Dalston and Stoke Newington, back towards the Olympic Park to finish back where you started. You can then head off to a local pub for a well-deserved pint by the river. Why not grab your mates and make a day of it? With a carnival atmosphere, plenty of support from the crowds, and a few hiccups from the first event finally cleared up, this is one to put in your diary. Sign up for Hackney Half Marathon today.
- The Whole Earth Man vs Horse Marathon, 11 June 2016
Yep. You read it right. The Whole Earth (WO)Man vs Horse Marathon is exactly that – a 26.2 mile race where runners race against horses. Set against beautiful backdrop of the Welsh countryside (Llanwrtyd Wells), this is no ordinary race. From what I’ve read, you run off-road alongside the horses through less than flat terrain. Think boggy marshland and puddles a plenty with a few hills thrown in for fun. The course isn’t exactly a marathon (23.6 miles) but who cares. You may not beat the horse to the finish line and win the big bucks (only two people have ever managed that) but you’ll have fun in this crazy running challenge.
- Wings For Life World Run, 8 May 2016
For some reason or another, I’m always away when Wings For Life World Run takes place so I’ve yet to have a go at being chased around by the Catcher Car. It has, however, always been on my list. This year, the race has moved from Silverstone to Cambridge, which is better for those of us who don’t own a car or have access to personal transport. The course also looks way more interesting as you take in all the sights of the city centre and the surrounding Fenlands as you try to keep your speed up so not to be overtaken by the Catcher Car and eliminated. I would love to do this race but at my current pace would only last five minutes out on the course. There are still places so why not give it a go?
- South Downs Trail Marathon, 18 June 2016
One of my favourite of all time trail marathons, head to the South Downs to take in the glorious English countryside as you run 26.2 miles of countryside. It’s not easy and parts of the race are technical but the South Downs Trail Marathon is absolutely worth it. It pains me to write this because I so want to run the South Downs this year and experience the vista you’ll see from the peak of the South Downs. And with a little festival village at the end plus picnic tables, it’s the perfect day out for all the family. My folks and partner used to drop me off at the start, go for a wander themselves, pick me up at the end so we could all head out to a country pub. Word of warning though – once you try this trail marathon, you may never want to go back to the road.
- Lidl Kingston Breakfast Run, 3 April 2016