By now, the offers of a 2020 London marathon place have landed. If you didn’t get lucky in the ballot this year, you may be thinking about alternatives to the London Marathon.
Let’s face it, the London Marathon is notoriously difficult to get into through the ballot. Of course there’s always the option of a coveted running club place, if you’re a club member. Or you could run the London Marathon for charity if you’re up for raising a considerable amount of cash.
If none of those options appeal or aren’t possible, don’t be disheartened. There’s loads of excellent marathons across the UK, like The Eden Project marathon in Cornwall. London’s just one of them.
I’ve shortlisted 7 alternatives to the London marathon so you can continue to plan your race calendar and marathon training, and pursue your 26.2 mile dream next Spring.
Greater Manchester Marathon
Fee: £25.00 (including all official photos and training tee). There are different options regarding entry type and fee.
Penned as a flat course, the Greater Manchester marathon is a big event. With the capacity at a staggering 25,000 runners, I can only imagine what the atmosphere is like.
The Greater Manchester marathon is a looped course that takes runners past some of Manchester’s well known landmarks, such as the Albert Memorial Hall and the Manchester Opera House. It finishes outside Old Trafford too, so that can’t be bad.
This is clearly a marathon that draws a considerable crowd. To enter you must register your interest by 20.10.20, so if you fancy it you’ve got to move quickly. It has a decent capacity of 18,000 runners so again, a decent field of runners and good spectator support.
The Brighton marathon finish takes you along the seafront, so you know it’s going to be flat and fast. You also finish by the sea, which in my view, is always a bonus.
Looking at reviews from previous participants, this is described a ‘tough and challenging’ course but that doesn’t make it less enjoyable or appealing. Personally, I’m not a massive fan of fast flat courses. I prefer a bit of variation. So this one certainly interests me!
Rock N Roll Liverpool Marathon
This is another race where you have to register your interest first. There’s a price increase too after the end of October when the entry fee goes up to £50.
On top of this, the Rock n Roll Liverpool marathon maintains strict course time limits, mainly due to the necessary road closures. For the marathon distance this stands at 6 hours.
The Liverpool Rock N Roll Marathon starts at Albert Dock and finishes at Liverpool Arena, on the waterfront. I’ve got to say, the photos from all Rock N Roll marathons make it look like the most fun event. Just don’t forget your Elton John-esque shades and inflatable guitar.
Great Welsh Marathon
This one sounds pretty awesome, if you ask me.
The Great Welsh Marathon is a closed road event, that’s advertised as being “flat, friendly, and incredibly scenic.” The route has yet be released but the website tells us that the race is based in Carmarthenshire.
All abilities are welcome but please know that this marathon has a cut off time of 6 hours (or 4 hours for the half marathon should that pique your interest).
Blackpool Festival Of Running
The Blackpool Festival of Running boasts a flat course (there’s quite a few if them around, isn’t there?) It’s a 2 lap course, with water stations every 3 miles.
There’s a different start for the marathon distance to the half marathon, so please make sure you’re at the right one on race day.
Boston (Lincoln) Marathon
Apparently the Boston marathon is the flattest marathon in the country. With only 21 feet of elevation, I’d say they’re probably right!
What I like about this race is that if you’re first in your age category, you win your age in pound sterling. So at the very least, you’ll get your entry fee back and enough for a post race pint.
That’s a great idea for a prize!
There are plenty of alternatives to the London Marathon out there. While I’ve kept to road routes here, there’s probably loads of trail options out there too. Whatever you do, enjoy your running. There’s always another year to run London.