The Best UK Half Marathons For 2018: When And How To Bag A Place

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Edinburgh Half Marathon

Next event: 27th May 2018

Like the Bath Half, the Edinburgh Half marathon caters for both casual runners and PB-hunters with a fast course that’s laden with landmarks, including Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and the oldest golf course in the world. £34, edinburghmarathon.com

St Albans Half Marathon

Next event: 10th June 2018

If you prefer to cover 21.1km at a more stately pace but still want the atmosphere of a big event, this might be the event for you because the St Albans Half has both walking and running options. Its fairly hilly route heads into the countryside before returning to St Albans to finish in the massive Verulamium Park, where the race also starts. £29 until 31st Jan, £32 after, stalbanshalfmarathon.co.uk

Serpent Trail Half Marathon

Next event: 7th July 2018

The full Serpent Trail is 108km long and, appropriately enough, snakes through the Surry, West Sussex and Hampshire countryside from Haslemere to Petersfield. This trail-running event gives you the opportunity to take on almost the whole trail with the 100km event, or half of it with the 50km race – but non-ultrarunners will be more than satisfied by the half marathon that runs from Midhurst to Petersfield, although the route is actually 21.7km long so it’s not one for a PB. £35, serpenttrailrace.com/half-marathon

Castle Howard Half Marathon

Next event: 22nd July 2018

Like castles? Like running? Then every event in the Castle Run series will be right up your street. The runs all take place in the grounds of castles in UK, Ireland and France. There are several half marathons to choose between, but we think the event at Castle Howard near York is the pick of the bunch thanks to its spectacular off-road route around the Howardian Hills. £40, castletriathlonseries.co.uk/castle-run-series

Great North Run

Next event: 9th September 2018

The grandfather of UK half marathons – over one million people have completed the Great North Run since the first event in 1981. The course starts in the centre of Newcastle, with runners crossing the Tyne Bridge before heading out to the coast to finish in South Shields. The ballot for the race opened on Wednesday 3rd January and closes at noon on Monday 5th February. greatrun.org/great-north-run

Scottish Half Marathon

Next event: 23rd September 2018

The bulk of the route of the Scottish Half Marathon runs along the coast of East Lothian, just outside Edinburgh, with the race finishing at Musselburgh racecourse, which has been holding horse-racing events since 1816. PB hunters will be pleased to learn that the course is a very fast one, with runners heading downhill for the most part in the first 6km before settling in to the flat along the coast. £34, scottishhalfmarathon.com

Great Bristol Half Marathon

Next event: 23rd September 2018

It’s rare that you enjoy a lengthy switchback section of a half marathon, but when it allows a second view of the magnificent Clifton Suspension Bridge it’s worth doubling back. As well as Brunel’s famous structure, runners are treated to views of the impressive Avon Gorge, and the race starts and finishes in the city’s historic Harbourside area. £35 early bird, greatrun.org/great-bristol-half-marathon

Ealing Half Marathon

Next event: 30th September 2018

The Ealing Half Marathon has only been running since 2012, but it has already established a reputation for an excellent atmosphere that makes runners of all stripes welcome. It’s one of just three closed-road half marathons in London, so it’s worth taking your chance to tackle the capital’s roads traffic-free. £38 early bird until 31st January, £44 after, ealinghalfmarathon.com

Bournemouth Half Marathon

Next event: 7th October 2018

Aside from a couple of inland miles right at the start, the route of this half marathon sticks resolutely to the seaside, with runners visiting Boscombe and Bournemouth piers as they wind their way along the coast. The half marathon is part of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival, with 5K, 10K and full marathon races also available. £31 early bird, bournemouthmarathon.com/half-marathon

Kielder Half Marathon

Next event: 7th October 2018

Kielder Water in Northumberland is the stunning setting for this race, which is part of a running festival that also includes a full marathon and 10K. The half marathon starts with a 6km out-and-back stretch past a huge spectator point on Kielder Dam, which should hopefully provide enough motivation to power you through the rest of the race around the southern half of the lake. £35, kieldermarathon.com/half-marathon

Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

Next event: 14th October 2018

The Royal Parks half may not be the only half marathon to take place on closed roads in the centre of London any more (hello London Landmarks half), but it’s the only one that takes a break from the concrete in not one but four Royal Parks: Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. It’s also a flat, fast course if you fancy clocking up a record time before letting yourself go in the run-up to Christmas. The public ballot for the 2018 Royal Parks Half has already closed, but you can still get a charity spot in the race. royalparkshalf.com