So can anyone recommend a road marathon I could have a go at next year?
it would be my first one! Uk based please
Anywhere in the Uk? Any particular time of year?
> Anywhere in the Uk? Any particular time of year?
In addition to that, what is important to you? Atmosphere? Fast time? Goodie bag? Ease of travel/access?
FWIW, my first road marathon was London back in 2010 ish. I absolutely loved it - the atmosphere was out of this world (it was a sunny day but not too hot so probably helped with the crowds) and you're passing (or at least can see) iconic sites a lot of the time. I lived in London at the time which helped with the logistics - obviously its going to be expensive and an effort if you're coming from out of town but its a slick and well run event.
The downside of London, indeed any Spring marathon is that you're doing the bulk of your training in the winter which can mean dark, cold, wet mornings/evenings if that's what your training regime dictates. Living in London I didn't find that too much of a problem (I used to run to work) but now I live in the mountains the snow means I've given up on Spring marathons because I just can't get the miles in.
It's also very hard to get into. I was lucky that I got a guaranteed spot after 5 years of consecutive refusals but I don't think they do that any more. There's plenty of others out there though but I don't have experience of them in the UK but like I said, it really depends on what you're looking to get out of it.
My wife did Milton Keyne as her first one last year and enjoyed it. There was a nice atmosphere and interesting course. Relatively flat too and being early May it was a nice temperature to run in (although this cannot be guaranteed). Also a stadium finish too which was cool.
Yes, last year was nice. I’m about to book in again for next year. Have run it the last couple of years, however 2018 was 35’c. Absolute murder.
Mentally I find it pretty easy, great logical loop, not that slow. Great scenery, time passes quickly. Some trail at the end. Awesome race.
I quite liked Loch Ness, point to point, down hill, but I had a poor run. But for a pretty big race it is well organized, well was 10 years ago.
Having done quite a few UK marathons, I’ve always thought Bournemouth strikes a nice balance. Well attended, but not congested. Nice course and very flat. Good atmosphere. V well organised, little or no fuss, despite it being point to point. Good value for money all round I’d say.
Thanks all, should have been more specific. Didn’t get into London and too late for Manchester.
fancy a relatively flat first marathon. I have done loads of ultra and fell running. Fancy seeing what I can do at a marathon. Any time spring onwards
Bournemouth is now no more. They announced after this year that it was only going to be a half going forward.
I wouldn’t recommend Snowdoinia as a first. However, it’s now a ballot entry opening in 1st December. There are plenty of easier marathons to get into.
I’ve not done Loch Ness but heard lots of good reports.
Not quite the UK, but the Dublin marathon is the first one I ever did, and loved it. Flat, well supported and quality guinness afterwards!
What a shame. Really enjoyed that race.
In light of your most recent response, I’d suggest Blackpool.
Super boring, but fast and 100% fuss free.
Whats the thoughts on the Belfast marathon - worth travelling over for?
I was going to suggest Loch Ness (October) but another one in nice surroundings is the Cape Wrath marathon on 16th May. Not done it but I've travelled the route. I wouldn't imagine it would be lined with cheering crowds.
"Didn’t get into London and too late for Manchester"
You're not too late for Manchester, entries are still open. What may have confused is they had an "early bird" price and they've all gone, but you can enter right now.
Route has not yet been confirmed, for the first time they are going into the city centre rather than all in the SW and W suburbs, but will still be a flat and fast course
Belfast - never done it. But I'm sure the guinness is still worth it.
> My wife did Milton Keyne as her first one last year and enjoyed it. There was a nice atmosphere and interesting course. Relatively flat too and being early May it was a nice temperature to run in (although this cannot be guaranteed). Also a stadium finish too which was cool.
MK is a brilliant race - really well organised and with the stadium finish and locals giving support (including a hosepipe the really hot year!) - but it's a bit unique taking into account that MK itself is unique. There is a road section at the start up a main road to the centre and around there, but then it goes off onto the Redways and leisure paths, which are mostly tarmac though some are gravel, so it's sort of trail in terms of the experience but it is run in road shoes because the paths are all surfaced and none of it is in the slightest bit muddy (unless it's been VERY wet weather in which cases there will be isolated mud and flooding in underpasses). It's surprisingly hilly as there's a lot of ducking under underpasses and up onto the road.
I was going to suggest it but I wouldn't call it a "road marathon". Having said that, still do it. The only thing I've done that comes vaguely close is the Round Sheffield Race but it's not quite that because that is proper unsurfaced trail.
It's becoming quite popular, I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up on a ballot within a few years, but presently it is first come first served. I'd actually choose it over London to be honest - OK, it has the cachet, but I've never considered London worth the faff of trying to get in.
 You could sort of replicate it as a Skem Marathon, or pick yer own new town, but MK is the biggest one - you'd have a job fitting it into the others unless you did laps.
> Yes, last year was nice. I’m about to book in again for next year. Have run it the last couple of years, however 2018 was 35’c. Absolute murder.
That year I did the half (intentionally, as I'd not done any sort of training nor indeed running for a while beforehand due to medical issues) but one thing of note is that the marathon and half follow the same route for about the first 10K, and quite a lot of marathoners turned at the half point. I'm led to believe that the organisers didn't DQ them and pull them out but let them finish as half runners and gave them a (possibly unofficial) half time, which was nice of them given the circumstances.
FWIW I walked from about mile 10, I was massively overheating. I reckon a bottle of water over my head at the last water station took a good couple of minutes off by dropping my core temperature a bit. It was HOT - remind me never to do the Marathon des Sables!
How about Chester Marathon- anyone done that?
steelbru thanks for heads up on Manchester
> I was going to suggest Loch Ness (October) but another one in nice surroundings is the Cape Wrath marathon on 16th May. Not done it but I've travelled the route. I wouldn't imagine it would be lined with cheering crowds.
Isn't it no longer classed as a road race due to the fecked state of the road?
> How about Chester Marathon- anyone done that?
I ran Chester this year as my first organised marathon. It was a lovely course, pretty flat apart from one short hill and well organised.
Mrs B ran it both this year and last and loved it both times.
Agreed. Forgot about Chester. Defo a fast course.
Another thumbs up for Milton Keynes, good scenic course and well supported by the locals. My brother and I are returning for our 5th year, it's become our yearly fixture! I'd always thought of it as quite flat but I guess living in Plymouth and being next to Dartmoor most places seem flat in comparison!
Signed up for Newport as well next year, mid April. Not done it before but it advertises itself as one of the flattest Marathons in Europe. Not sure what the crowd will be like though, given the size of Newport and the surrounding area not being the most densely populated area!
That’s more of a trail marathon with the ruts, potholes and ferry ride. No crowds though!
Edinburgh (late May) is pretty flat, well supported and scenic in parts. They will also guarantee you a place if you didn't get a London entry too.
Course is somewhat exposed so strong winds can peg you back a bit and the finish is a bit of a trek from the start.
> and the finish is a bit of a trek from the start.
Edinburgh consists of running out of Edinburgh then tracking down/up coast to finish outside the city. I enjoyed it although as stated the wind can be brutal - would be a fast course on a still day.
I never fancied it because there's such a long there and back section. Must be 7 miles each way? However if that sort of course doesn't bother you I agree it's nice and fast. If it's not windy.
The Cape wrath challenge marathon also includes a ferry crossing across the Kyle of Durness. It has approximately 2000ft of ascent. It’s going to be my first marathon as well
It’s true Scottish athletics ruled because runners would have to weave around potholes it’s technically a trail marathon. It’s still mostly tarmac though, and it’s got beautiful scenery and fantastic community support to boot
Milton Keynes doesn’t look like a very fast course, just going off the course record of 2:31. I appreciate that it won’t attract the best athletes, but Ben Fish who holds the record has run 2:19.
Milton Keynes was used as the GB qualifier race for 1980 Olympic Marathon, but it must have been a different course as the current race didn’t start until 2012.
It isn't a fast course, because it's pseudo-trail due to the unique nature of MK and for similar reasons has a lot of up and down in it (albeit only repeated short sections). The OP didn't ask for a fast course though? I'd go for interesting over fast, which is why I like it.
It'll definitely be a different course than 1980 - most of what is there now didn't exist back then!
I admire your love for your local town, but even as someone with an interest in the history of urban development, I think a running tour of Milton Keynes would take some hard selling.
> I admire your love for your local town, but even as someone with an interest in the history of urban development, I think a running tour of Milton Keynes would take some hard selling.
Seriously - give the race a go. It really is quite good and is getting more popular year on year - I suspect it'll be on a ballot before very long.
I've run all over MK on the redways having worked there for three years and you're right there's no way its a PB course. Mainly because as noted the paths dip under the roads and MK is on a quite significant slope running east-west. Also the surfaces are variable and not as fast as tarmac. That said, MK is an excellent place to run.
To those considering Manchester, do it, brilliant route with amazing support, very flat (at least in its old reincarnation, changes this year). I enjoyed it more than London and thought it was a faster course.
Chester isn't as fast by all accounts, with a hill near the end and a grassy finish.
My brother in law has done Edinburgh a few times and it always seems to be hot!
I was hoping to do Berlin next year but dithered and have missed the ballot. Considering Loch Ness now - is it excessively downhill? ie would a PB there feel like cheating?
Loch Ness is fast early on but has some sharp climbs but also a decent climb later on. I don't think it is excessively quick. I ran 2:53 and then 2:57 in Snowdonia 3 weeks later. Snowdonia is at least 8 minutes slower at my pace, probably a good 10 minutes slower than a quick marathon. I didnt have a great run at Loch Ness but still it isn't super fast IMO.
Edinburgh, assuming the same course, is out on the coast and so has suffered with wind issues.
Chicago is the fastest marathon I've done but haven't done a true all down hill marathon. But chicago is pan cake flat, the tiniest hill at mile 26 that hurts but otherwise as lat as can be.
One last thing about Loch Ness, like Boston, those early miles kill people as you easily run 30s ahead of goal pace, trash your quads and die later on..
If it's your first and the bling is more important than smashing a good time Milton Keynes have hit it out the park this year with their medal celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE day.
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