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Recommended Races for 2018

Arguably, one of the more exciting parts of resetting for the New Year ahead is choosing what races you are going to attempt.  So we asked #TeamIffley what their favourite running events have been over the past few years.  The following races are some of the ones they recommend signing up for, and we think they make for an ace list!

Steve Skinner Recommends: 

Virgin Sport Hackney Half Marathon

- 20 May 2018

I have run the Hackney Half Marathon each year since it began in 2014. Living in London it is relatively easy to get to, the route is flat and fast and lots of friends either take part or cheer.  The atmosphere is always great. Having finished the Boston Marathon only a couple of weeks prior to the race I was planning to take it easy. However, as my legs felt good (and being spurred on by the crowds also helped) I ended up feeling really pleased with my time. It also helped me get back into training after the marathon. With Virgin Sport becoming the headline sponsor the Hackney Half is now deemed a “festival of fitness” with all sorts of activities being put on in the race village. Initially, I was a little sceptical, but I was pleased to find the race was still well organised. Despite the higher entry fee, I think the race is good value thanks to the offering in the race village, the atmosphere as well as the free race photos.

You can read more about Steve's experience here, and find out more about the event here.

Simplyhealth Great East Run Ipswich

- September 2018

In September 2017 I took part in the inaugural Simplyhealth Great East Run. I signed up because Lorna (my girlfriend), her sister and brothers were racing and, in the process, renewing their sibling rivalries. With the race being just over three weeks after completing OCC, I knew it would be a tall order to aim for a PB. In that light, I took the approach of racing against other runners and seeing how close I could get to the front. The course was relatively flat and the only considerable hill was around 12km. I really enjoyed the race and particularly thought the atmosphere was great (especially through the docks). It was nice to have runners cheering from the other side of the road when I was heading along the strand and A137 towards the finish. Overall, the event was well organised, the route was fast and there was a competitive field. If it fits in the race calendar in 2018 I’ll definitely return.

You can read more about Steve's experience here, and find out more about the event here.

Bideford 10k

- Sunday 13 May 2018

On Sunday 14th May I took part in the Bideford 10k in Devon. I signed up because my mum and cousin Tilly (alongside my Uncle Andrew) were taking part in their first 10k races. Feeling strong after completing the Boston Marathon & Hackney Half I wanted to see if I could break my 10k personal best (34:50). As I live in London my family don’t get to watch me race very often so it was special to have them roadside, I wanted to do them proud. Knowing the route was flat apart from a short hill around 1k I pushed from the start. I managed to get into a good rhythm and finished 4th in 35:02. I ran back down the road to see Tilly & Uncle Andrew through the finish and then joined my mum for the last hundred metres or so. It was such a great day! As there aren’t as many running events in Devon the crowds and atmosphere are great for events like this. I am hoping to do a race or two in the South West in 2018.

You can read more about Steve's experience here, and find out more about the event here.

Sam Pearce Recommends:

Endurancelife CTS Series Exmoor

- 7th April 2018, multiple distances, estimated finish time: Road marathon + 1-1.5hrs

Endurancelife are a company known for organising back-to-basics events in some of the most scenic areas of the UK - the Exmoor day has options ranging from 7 to 33 miles, so there is a challenge waiting for all.  In 2015 I ran the marathon (which with 1,650m vertical gain was an absolute beast), but I have fond memories of the varied trail conditions, breathtaking sections of coast path, and epic climbs! The start and finish are in the remote Heddon Valley but aren't too far from the lovely seaside towns of Lynton and Lynmouth, so it is an ideal event to combine with a long weekend exploring this wonderful part of the country.

Find out more about the event here

Hampshire Hoppit Trail Marathon & Half Marathon

- June 17th 2018, marathon and half marathon distances, estimated finish time: Road marathon + 30-45mins

In 2017 the Hampshire Hoppit races were held on the hottest day of the year, with temperatures at the finish reaching a sweltering 30 degrees by lunchtime! Despite this, it was wonderful to explore the pristine countryside around the village of Kingsclere in the North Wessex Downs, only an hour from London but a world away in feel. The course has a mix of terrain including chalk tracks, grassy downland, and some short tarmac sections, but after a nasty first climb the route undulates through the Hampshire borders without too many further obstacles. With 650m vertical gain over the marathon distance, plenty of well-stocked aid stations, and a free pint of the excellent local beer to all finishers, this race is an ideal introduction to long distance trail running.

You can read my race report of the day here and you can find out more about the event here.

Beachy Head Marathon & 10km

- 27th October 2018, marathon and 10km distances, estimated finish time: Road marathon + 45mins-1hr

One of the oldest trail marathons in the country, the legendary Beachy Head race deserves its status as one of the UK's true bucket-list events. Taking place mostly over the eastern end of the South Downs Way and featuring around 1,200m vertical gain, this single loop course offers amazing vistas over Sussex and the English Channel, some big climbs, the infamous Westdean "Steps of Doom", and the chance to negotiate the world-famous Seven Sisters within the last five miles! Helped along by the army of encouraging volunteer marshals and views that seem to get better and better around each corner, this tough but achievable challenge is sure to make for an unforgettable experience.

 Find out more about the event here.

Tom Wheatley recommends:

Greenwich Park 10k

- Various dates

The Greenwich Park 10k (there’s also a 5k) is easily the most gruelling road race in London. It consists of three laps of the park containing a 500m hill that seems to disappear for miles into the distance. Yes, it may be hard, but the fact it takes place in one of the most beautiful locations in London (with one of the most spectacular views) makes up for it. There’s also a sense of pride you get from doing a really hard race that makes the medal so much more valuable. It's also worth mentioning that there is a cracking coffee shop near the start line as well.

Find out more about the event here.

QEOP 10k Series

- See race organiser site for event dates

What I love about this race, aside from the location, is that it takes place at the Olympic Park the first Saturday of every month. It’s more often than not the exact same route, which means it’s an excellent gauge of fitness and progress. The crowds are always ridiculously friendly, there’s a massive café with toilets at the start and it’s really easy to get to by public transport.

Find out more about the event here.

Virgin British 10k

See race organiser site for event info

Now, I’m not a massive fan of really big races, largely because I like having a lot of space to run in when I’m racing. However, the British 10k is a great opportunity to see what it’s like running through central London with loads of crowds cheering you on. It’s a great chance to enjoy running through the capital without the hurdles and training of getting into the London Marathon. A perfect opportunity to get some friends to join you then head into Central London for an afternoon of well-earned celebrating.

Find out more about the event here.

All 2018 race dates correct at time of publishing the blog. Please check the race event websites for their up-to-date race details.