Words and photos by United Kingdom Runner, Mark Sanders.
Grey, cold and raining, warm beer and a cup of tea. That’s typical UK, right? Partially. Contrary to popular belief, the weather can be warm, the beer is cold, but yes, we love a cup of tea! Winter does ‘feel’ like forever and just when you think spring has arrived, so do the April showers. But whether you enjoy the hot bright sunshine in summer, crunching the golden leaves in Autumn (Fall), enjoying the silence that only snow can bring in winter, or taking in the beauty of the spring blossom, every season can be enjoyed when you’re a runner here.
The UK offers something for every kind of runner. You can find yourself exploring cities or towns, country lanes, coastlines, and yes (everyone’s favorite) hills. There’s plenty of beautiful scenery, bags of history, and a whole new bunch of running friends! Here is a taster of what you can expect if you visit our little island over the next few months!
Summer Running in England
July: Chase the Sun 5 &10k, Hyde Park, London
We have to include a London race right? The largest of four Royal Parks in the Centre of London, Hyde Park, was originally used by Henry Vlll as a hunting ground and is now home to all kinds of events from concerts to races. In July, you can enjoy the Chase the Sun 5k or 10k that starts from the bandstand and takes you on a loop around the beautiful park – it’s nice and flat, great for smashing that PB! If you’re thinking of visiting London to see the sights and would like to squeeze in a race, give this one (or the various others held throughout the year) a try.
August – Isle of Wight Half Marathon
A stone’s throw from the mainland (2 miles) sits the Isle of Wight. In March there is the Running Festival and in August a Half Marathon. Organized by Ryde Harriers Running Club, which has been operating since 1886, the race starts in Appley Park and consists of two laps close to the coastline which take you through the villages of Nettlestone and St Helens. With its white cliffs and rolling hills, it is a beautiful place to run, especially if hills and trails are your thing.
September – Great North Run
Now in it’s 38th year, some may remember the Great North Run as the race where Kara Goucher beat Paula Radcliffe in 2007. Along with the London Marathon, the Great North Run is one of the most recognized events here in the UK. Starting in the center of Newcastle in the Northeast of England, the route takes you out of the city center over the historic Tyne Bridge and east towards the coast in South Shields. As a major event it has coverage with the BBC so you could find yourself on camera, and if you’re lucky enough to be on the bridge at the right time, a couple of noisy visitors courtesy of the Royal Air Force Red Arrows!