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10 Great Races to do in Britain

Night running

Here’s a list of 10 Races I am working to tick off in Britain. Please leave a comment to let me know how wrong my pick is, which classics I have omitted, and so on…

London Marathon
Ballbuster duathlon
Devizes to Westminster canoe marathon
Thames Ring 250
Man vs Horse marathon
Kindrocht Quadrathlon
The UK Ironman
The Yorkshire 3 Peaks fell race
The Great Swim
The Original Mountain Marathon

And, for a bit of light relief:
Tough Guy
Cheese Rolling
Bog Snorkelling

Here are a couple of videos of recent races:

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    This is what I’m working towards next year. It’s my perfect cycling sport; beer is pretty much mandatory and they don’t start the races until 1pm. Plus, mud! Bruises! More mud!

    Also, good luck in Chester.


  2. I’ve written a similar post for Scotland’s races if anyone is interested. . .

  3. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t include IMUK, it’s in a bit of an uninspiring part of the world (the run in particular is very dull by all accounts) and the organisation (this year) was a bit suspect. Try IMUK 70.3 instead. Very hard, in beautiful park of the country and well organised (when I went anyway).

    I’d swap the London Marathon (too obvious) for the Snowdonia Marathon instead. I’d try to squeeze in the Jura Hill Race as well, though I don’t know what I’d lose (maybe the 3 peaks, although I’m doing that next year myself).

    • Hi Johnny,
      Thanks for your thoughts here. Good stuff.
      I think though the sheer obviousness of the London Marathon is one of its appeals? A mandatory tick in the box perhaps?
      Thanks for the IMUK 70.3 advice. Now I just need to learn to swim front crawl…

  4. Nice list though!

  5. Thanks. You are probably right. I must admit, I have the London Marathon on my own list of things to do but it doesn’t burn inside me like doing the WHW Race, or the BGR, or Borrowdale or Fred Whitton.

    Certainly, if you decide to do Ironman, I wouldn’t choose IMUK – the European IMs are much bigger and more exciting (in my opinion at least).

    We live in a country where we are lucky to have such a huge range of exciting and challenging events to participate in.

  6. Richard Westover Posted

    Hi all,

    Alastair recently gave an after dinner speech at an event held by the company which I work for and to cut a long story short, this inspired me to take on the Marathon des Sables.

    I am looking to enter either the 2011 or 2012 race, however have found long waiting lists and expensive entry fees and fund raising requirements at the agencies which I can find.

    I wondered if anyone has any experience of this race and can recommend agencies to use as well as specific things that I should ensure the agency includes in the race package?

    I have no experience of competing in something of this magnitude and literally any advice you are able to provide would be invaluable to me, whether this is to do with equipment, training, fund raising or most likely something I haven’t even considered yet!

    Thanks for any help that can be given, please email me at or I shall keep an eye out for posts on here.


  7. George Bownes Posted

    Richard, basically the MdS is cool, so don’t worry about the money just get involved you won’t regret it. You can try american .com searches to find an american agent to get a place through as they have loads of places going. the official uk agent is fine but the waiting list is always about two years. if you us an american agency another european country like spain or germany then you may have to sort out your own transport to get to morocco but it will save you waiting two years for a uk place. either way it well worth getting out there to do. good luck

  8. tom middlemiss Posted

    Hi richard, did the MdS a two years ago. I think that going through other countries is a quicker way but you have to have an address in that country etc I think. you must just have to sign up and wait it out. a few years actually goes very quickly and gives you a great chance to get fit over that time if you have not done anything like it before.
    Getting someone else to do it with you would be my big suggestion. For all the banter during the build up, to persuade you that a £500 non-refundable deposit is a sensible thing to do and to share all the good times during the race. Sure there are hard bits but that’s the point isn’t it?
    could not recommned it high enough. the only problem is that once you have done it (and you will) you will want to go on and do more and more of the same sort of thing.
    Also would recommend Dean Karnazes Confessions of an All-night runner. ” Run if you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, but never ever give up”. Great times!
    Good luck

  9. Duncan Hill Posted

    Good Morning,

    As you can see there are ways to get into the MDS quicker, if time is an issue, it is hard to know what you might be doing in 3 years! But i agree with Tom it is worth the wait.. something to look forward to! and you could do some other events/ultramarathons leading up to it for experience, of which there are loads in this country. However another option would be another desert race? There are now a few races of the same format as the MDS run by other people in the Sahara, Atacama, Gobi deserts. they are easier to get into and a little cheaper, but not as well known, just a thought.

    It’s a good list Al but i think a european IM is probably more attractive especially as know IMUK has moved for it’s previous venue and there are loads in europe.
    Also notice the Bob Graham’s not on the list?!

  10. Richard Westover Posted

    thanks for the advice George, Tom and Duncan.
    it looks like i will try to enter the 2013 mds and from looking at the sarahmarathon website it seems registration will be in Feb 2010 for this race (only based on the fact that registration for 2012 was in Feb 09), is this consistent with the years that you entered?

    i’m assuming that will have to get very lucky on registration day to be one of the first 800 or so allocated a place….is there anything i can do to improve my chances of getting one of the places? or did you find it took a couple of attempts over a couple of years to get in?

    is there any information i will need to have ready when i submit my application for a place?


  11. Forget ironman uk, ironman Wales looks to be an amazing race, spending time riding, running through Bolton was hardly inspiring. Tenby on the other hand……



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