Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a lockdown habit has just turned into a passion, our resident running expert has picked out her favourite Autumn races. Lace up those trainers, grab your safety pins and get ready to go…
Great North Run: 12th September
This is probably the most iconic half marathon in the UK and with 50,000 runners you can expect a great atmosphere. The course starts in Newcastle and ends on the windy coast of South Shields. Not a particularly scenic race with plenty of dual carriageways, but what it lacks in a scenery, it more than makes up with the friendliness of the supporters who line the 13.1 mile route in large numbers. Plus, where better for a post-race night out?
London Marathon: 3rd October
London is one of the most esteemed marathons in the world and one of 6 in the World Marathon Majors – Tokyo, Boston, Berlin, Chicago and New York being the other five. If you are ever planning to run a marathon this needs to be on your list. It is usually run in the spring, but after it was cancelled in 2020 and then delayed this year to the Autumn. It takes in the main famous sights of London including a popular highlight being the crossing of Tower Bridge at the half way point. Supporters are plentiful and in some areas along the route there is a carnival atmosphere. Extremely well organised and ending on the Royal Mile. You can also celebrate in style afterwards in a London pub, with a big cheer given to runners wearing their medals. Our very own Managing Director, David Foster will also be running this year’s London Marathon along with Luke Roper of Woodhouse brand, Luke 1977 so be sure to give them a cheer if you see them flying round the course!
Manchester Marathon: 10th October
Our local race and a recent addition to the marathon schedule. It was first launched in 2012 and runs each year (except for 2020). It is a flat and fast course and whilst not as scenic as the London Marathon it does bring in some famous sights along the way, including Old Trafford and many historical Manchester buildings. A real highlight is the supporters who line the streets of the routes with jelly babies and Haribo for the runners as it takes in quite a lot of residential areas on its route.
Park Runs: Weekly
If you’re not quite looking to do a big distance, then a Park Run could be the perfect starting point for you. These are free organised 5K runs which take place every Saturday morning at 9am. In the UK there are over 1,000 locations and these are also held internationally as far away as Australia. These take place in parks (hence the name) and are timed runs where you can compete against yourself or others. Children and dogs are also welcomed to join in too (I frequently get beaten by a man pushing a pram round!). The great thing about the park runs are that speed is irrelevant, there is always a tail-walker who accompanies the person at the back so it doesn’t matter if you can only manage to walk. A relaxed, community spirit and inclusive feel make these a personal favourite.
Fell & Trail running – Various
If road running doesn’t interest you then you could always try fell/trail running. There are a vast number of events which take place all over the UK. My favourites are in the Lake District and the Peak District which are within a couple of hours drive of me. You don’t need any fancy equipment to do this other than a pair of trail trainers and a backpack. These events are on a much smaller scale but all the Marshalls are extremely friendly and the routes well organised.
You won’t get any crowds to support you (other than wildlife) however you will get great views, fresh air and a massive sense of achievement at the top of the hills. The snacks handed out along the way are usually pretty decent too!
Whichever race type and location you choose, Autumn is a great season to start running. Cooler temperatures, beautiful countryside scenery and the changing colours of Autumn. Get out there and enjoy the buzz of completing a race!
Here are a few running-ready pieces to get you a head start:
Words by Joanne Slinger