UK Marathons: When And How To Secure A Place


Deep RiverRock Belfast Marathon

Next event: 7th May 2018
How to enter: Get your skates on and sign up online asap for an early bird spot
Cost: £30 early bird, relay £90 (for teams of two to five people) early bird, standard prices TBC
Start Coach’s 14-week marathon training plan by: 29th January 2018

There are a few issues with the Belfast Marathon –, most importantly that the route picked does little to showcase the sights of the city, instead opting for long stretches of motorway and a massive climb followed by a very aggressive downhill in the middle. However, this is one marathon where a relay event has really taken off, so if you’re looking to share the load of a marathon by running as a team it’s a great option.

Milton Keynes Marathon

Next event: 7th May 2018
How to enter: Guaranteed entry available at Cost: £44-£50 (the earlier you book the cheaper the fee)
Start training by: 29th January 2018

The “new town” of Milton Keynes has a reputation for being a soulless, uninspiring place, but anyone who tackles this marathon will come away with a very different view. The route is impressively picturesque – you’ll struggle to find a UK marathon that takes in more greenery – and starts and finishes in Stadium MK. Never underestimate the joy of a stadium finish.

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Brathay Windermere Marathon

Next event: 20th May 2018
How to enter: Sign up online Cost: £43 early bird
Start training by: 11th February 2018

What could be more picturesque than a 26.2-miler around the Lake District? This little beauty starts at the northern end of Windermere, England’s largest lake, and draws you through an incredibly scenic route of chocolate-box villages, rugged scenery and cheering crowds. If you like the sound of that, and of course you do, get in there quick – entries close when the race reaches a relatively tiny 1,500 competitors.

Rock ’N’ Roll Liverpool Marathon

Next event: 20th May 2018
How to enter: Sign up here Cost: £39, further price increase could apply (so move quick)
Start training by: 11th February 2018

If you only run your best when you’ve got big tunes pumping into your ears, this is where you need to be. The international Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series started in 1998 with a simple but super-fun concept – to line the routes of gruelling marathons with live bands encouraging the racers with their aural delights. The likes of Macklemore, Pitbull and Goo Goo Dolls have all made their noise at Stateside events, and although the Liverpool race isn’t quite as star-studded, it’s still brimming with a proper party atmosphere.

Edinburgh Marathon

Next event: 27th May 2018
How to enter: There’s no ballot so there’s guaranteed entry until it sells out. Sign up here.
Cost: £56
Start training by: 18th February 2018

Celebrations are to be had at 2017’s race as Edinburgh Marathon turns 15 years old. Scotland’s biggest running event follows a beautiful route around the city, passing the historic Holyrood Park, the seaside Portobello Promenade and the oldest golf course in the world, Musselburgh Links. What’s more, this is the place to hit if you’re searching to beat your PB, as the route for this second-largest UK race is not only knee-pleasingly flat, but was recently named the fastest marathon by Runner’s World.

The Wales Marathon

Next event: 15th July 2018
How to enter: Register at Cost: £45
Start training by: 8th April 2018

It’s younger than many of its British rivals, but this Welsh challenger is now heading into its ninth year and pits competitors against an undulating route from Tenby to the lakes of Pembrokeshire and back. It’s the country’s only closed-road route, so make the most of it, as well as the stunning countryside scenery you’ll be pounding through – and that unflappable Welsh spirit you can enjoy ringing forth from the waiting welcome party at the finish.

New Forest Marathon

Next event: September 9th 2018
How to enter: Early bird entries are open on the website until 1st November 2017, regular entry thereafter
Cost: £40 early bird, standard price TBC
Start training by: 3rd June 2018

A huge array of races are all crammed into one day at this event in the New Forest, with adults able to tackle a marathon, half marathon, 10K or 5K, while juniors can line up for a 1km or 200m run. There are even a couple of walking events on offer. If you’re running the marathon, you can expect a scenic route through the New Forest that is mostly flat for the first half, and a bit up and down in the second. Make sure to keep an eye out for the famous New Forest ponies as you run.

Loch Ness Marathon

Next event: 23rd September 2018
How to enter: Entry is open now on the website Cost: £50 with discounts for UK athletics club members.
Start Coach’s 14-week marathon training plan by: 17th June 2018

One of the UK’s most stunning events, this point-to-point race runs along the south-eastern shores of Loch Ness to take in the epic scenery of the Highlands and finishes in Inverness. Of course you won’t see any of that scenery because your eyes will be glued to the water in the hope of spotting Nessie.

Eden Project Marathon

Next event: 14th October 2018
How to enter: Register now at Cost: £57
Start training by: 7th July 2018

The biomes of the Eden Project are naturally the spectacular centrepiece of this mixed-terrain marathon in Cornwall, but the countryside around the distinctive structures is also a joy to run through, even if it is too hilly to shoot for a PB-busting time. More than two-thirds of the route is on trails, paths and private roads, so expect some muddy bits, and trail shoes are probably the smart pick. And of course you get a free pasty at the end.

Yorkshire Marathon

Next event: 14th October 2018
How to enter: Entry is open – sign up at Cost: £53.20
Start training by: 7th July 2018

The start and finish of this race is in the outskirts of York near the university, and while you get a chance to pass the city’s landmarks in the first few kilometres most of the event is set in the countryside on traffic-free roads. Don’t think that means you’ll have no support, though – crowds line the streets in all the small villages you pass through and there’s a massive cheer point around the halfway mark at Stamford Bridge. Just make sure you save some energy, because there’s a testing little hill in the last mile.

Beachy Head Marathon

Next event: 27th October 2018
How to enter: Grab your spot at Cost: £40
Start training by: 21st July 2018

This off-road marathon is famed for both its beauty and its hills, and if you have any doubt about how tough the latter might prove, the near-vertical slope that faces you at the start line will quickly set you right. The courses twists its way around the South Downs National Park before heading back along the coast to the finish at Beachy Head in Eastbourne. Runners, joggers and walkers are all welcome, with a generous nine-hour time limit to get to the finish line.

2019 Marathons

Asics Greater Manchester Marathon

Next event: 7th April 2019
How to enter: Sign up online, and do it fast – the first 5,000 places are discounted
Cost: £45 early bird
Start training by: 31st December 2018

Just like its cousin in Edinburgh, the Greater Manchester Marathon is known for being speedy thanks to its flat route – it’s actually one of the flattest marathon routes in the world – making it ideal for hitting a new PB. Oh, and you see the date? That means you’ll need to kick-start your training around Christmas, giving you a great reason to shift that turkey dinner and Quality Street addiction in record time.

Brighton Marathon

Next event: 14th April 2019
How to enter: Sign up now – the 11,000 places are first come, first served
Cost: £65
Start training by: 7th January 2019

It’s part of a wider event, encompassing the Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Mini Mile Races, the BM10KM and the Brighton Expo, but there’s no doubt the Brighton Marathon is the jewel in the crown of this three-day festival. The marathon course takes you right around the city and finishes up on the seafront where, every year, huge crowds wait to cheer your broken body across the finish line. The good vibes don’t end there, though: the Beach Village stretches across the beach, packed with screens, food, drink, entertainment… and deckchairs to rest your burning calves.

London Marathon

Next event: April 2019, exact date to be announced
How to enter: The ballot is likely to open for five days in May. Sign up for the newsletter on the London Marathon website for notifications
Cost: TBA

This is the big one. The London Marathon is one of the world’s largest and most in-demand races, so much so that the entry ballot only stays open for five days and almost an entire year ahead of that starting line forming in Greenwich Park. Places go like that. This doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if you miss out on the ballot, though – there are still charity places up for grabs. Take a look at the likes of Barnardo’s, NSPCC and Shelter online, and use the contact details to secure your spot.