What is it about running on Britain’s beaches that makes for such an uplifting experience? Maybe its something scientific, such as the increased ozone levels in the air? Maybe it’s the views – big skies and sea? Or maybe, for many of us, it’s simply a welcome change of scene. Whatever the reason a few miles running along Britain’s coast will refresh the most jaded of runners.
To whet your appetite we feature four of our favourite British coastal runs, all very different, plus our top tips for making the most of your next coastal run.
South Wales is hard to beat for classic sandy beaches. On a recent visit to Swansea and pushed for time we blasted away the cobwebs with a brisk, breezy morning run along the beach. If you have more time in the area head further West to the Gower and Rhosilli – beach running doesn’t get much better!
We sometimes head down to Cornwall after Christmas and kick the running New Year off in style. The coastal trail in Cornwall and Devon is often narrow, winding with ever changing views over hidden bays, crashing winter surf and rolling farmland. If you fall in love with this sort of terrain there are plenty of races to consider, such as the legendary Grizzly race n neighbouring Devon. But be sure to enter early as places sell out almost immediately.
We fell in love with the Sussex coast when we first ran the excellent Seaford trail half marathon several years ago. The South Downs meet the channel for much of the Sussex coast from Brighton to Eastbourne, offering rolling chalk trails and stunning views of the Severn Sisters white cliffs.
For a totally different experience head for the North Norfolk coast where we’ve spent many summers exploring the coastal trails around Cromer. Here the low, soft cliffs are fighting a losing battle against the powerful North Sea storms as the sea gradually reclaims this part of the coast. Often we run outbound along the cliff tops – all gorse thickets and golf courses – and back along the shingly beaches.
Top Tips for Coastal Runs
- Check the time of the tides before setting out – you don’t want that beautiful stretch of sand you spotted earlier to be underwater when you run.
- Be relaxed about time – running on sand or pebbles is so much slower and tougher than most surfaces, but is great for leg strength.
- If you don’t know the area well look at a map for good routes – beach one way and cliff-top trails the other is a great combination.
We hope you get to enjoy some coastal runs this Summer. Email your favourite locations to firstname.lastname@example.org.