12 Amazing UK Marathons that Aren't in London
Let’s be honest - as a runner in the UK, you’ve probably either participated in the London Marathon, or you’re planning on it. You also, if you’re like most marathon enthusiasts, likely consider it something of a milestone in your running career.
And fair enough. As one of the most infamous and well-established runs in the world (and with an estimated 40,000 participants this year alone), it should at least be on everyone’s bucket list.
But what you may not realise is that, while amazing, London certainly isn’t the only contender in town.
So, if you’re looking to mix up your marathon game, the following are 12 amazing UK marathon’s (in no particular order) that you won’t find in the capital.
12 - Mablethorpe Marathon
As one of the flattest trails in the UK, this is a great beginner friendly option if you’re new to the game. Taking place on the east coast in Lincolnshire, the Mablethorpe Marathon is not only great for newbies, but also features a pretty serene view of the coastline, and includes both a half-marathon and a 5K.
11 - The Great North Run
While the London Marathon may take the cake for name recognition, it turns out the largest half-marathon in the world isn’t actually in London. Starting in Newcastle and finishing on the South Shields coastline, the Great North Run is the brainchild of Olympic bronze medalist Brendan Foster. In 2017, the event saw over 43,000 participants cross the finish line.
10 - White Peak Marathon (Derbyshire)
Set in the county of Derbyshire, a good stretch of this marathon runs along the Peak District National Park. The route offers not only some impressive scenery, but also a bit of a challenge for runners since the first portion of the race takes place uphill.
9 - Robin Hood Marathon
One of the more well established routes on our list, the annual Robin Hood Marathon in Nottingham began in the early 80’s and, until recently, included a full and half-marathon as well as a fun run (as of 2018, the full marathon has been cancelled). Voted as the number two race in the UK by Runner’s World Magazine, it’s set along some of the most beautiful and picturesque sights the city has to offer.
And while those hoping to complete the full marathon will certainly be disappointed at the cancellation, those willing to participate in the half-marathon will be pleased to know that the scenic first portion of the course (featuring Nottingham Palace) has been fully preserved.
8 - Baxters Loch Ness Marathon
Getting its start in 2002, Baxters is known for both its friendly atmosphere as well as its stunning scenery. This marathon runs along the Loch Ness and finishes in Inverness, offering participants a view of the Scottish countryside. The event includes a full and half-marathon, a 10K and 5K, and even a “Wee Nessie” race for the kids.
7 - Brighton Marathon
Held every April since 2010, the Brighton Marathon is another seaside winner, and includes both a full marathon as well as a 10K. The (relatively flat) course runs through the city streets of Brighton and finishes at the sea, offering a breathtaking view of Brighton and all that it has to offer (a worthwhile day trip if we’ve ever seen one).
6 - Stirling Scottish Marathon
A newcomer to the marathon game, The Stirling Scottish Marathon began in 2017 and is hosted and organised by the The Great Run Company (the same people that organise The Great North Run). The full and half-marathon runs through the historic city and countryside of Stirling, and is a must for anyone considering doing a race in Scotland.
5 - ASICS Windermere Marathon
This full marathon in Ambleside has the distinction of being voted the most scenic in the UK by Runner’s World. Finishing at Brathay Hall, this course offers an absolutely unbelievable view of Windermere, the largest lake in the UK, and is an absolute must if scenery is a priority for you.
4 - Belfast City Marathon
A great alternative to the Dublin Marathon, the Belfast City Marathon celebrates its 37th anniversary this year. The packed event features a full and half marathon, as well as a fun run, wheelchair run and even a relay race, and is well established, drawing over 1700 participants to the Irish capital each year.
3 - Liverpool Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon
Probably the most unique race on our list, the Liverpool Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon features live bands and DJ’s along the course. With the option of a full and half-marathon as well as a 5K, the race begins at Albert Dock and finishes at the Liverpool Echo Arena. The course even takes runners (and music lovers) past the legendary Cavern Pub.
2 - The Rotary Shakespeare Marathon
Beginning and ending in (of course) Stratford upon-Avon, this flat, two lap course comes with a view of the Warwickshire countryside as well as the historical buildings. With a full and half-marathon on offer, the event is well organized, and the location is a perfect spot to make a mini-holiday out of your run.
1 - New Forest Marathon
This 34 year-old event is set in New Forest National Park, begins and ends at New Park Showground, and combines forest roads with open trails. The course itself is quite smooth, and is a great option for runners of all levels. The packed event includes a full and half-marathon, 10K and 5K, a 1K and 200m race, as well as a walk, and great care has been taken by the event organizers to respect the natural beauty that the park has to offer.