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Run, Relax, Repeat: The best of Destination Running Races in the United Kingdom

Cotswolds Running RouteCotswolds Running Route

We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s about the journey, not the destination”. But in the UK’s vibrant running community, that old adage has been flipped on its head. These days, it’s all about the destination. Specifically, the rising trend of destination races.

What is a destination running race?

You might be asking, what exactly is a destination running race? Picture this. You, sweaty and triumphant, crossing the finish line after a gruelling marathon. But rather than cooling down in your local park, you’re in a stunning and unique location. Maybe you’re in the rolling countryside, an idyllic seaside town, or surrounded by centuries-old architecture. A destination race is a running event that combines your love for the sport with the thrill of exploring a new place.

And oh boy, the UK is a hotspot for these thrilling running-adventure mashups!

The Enigmatic Hadrian’s Wall

If history is more your flavour, why not give the Hadrian’s Wall Half Marathon a shot? This half-marathon takes you through the UNESCO World Heritage site, following the footsteps of ancient Romans along the Hadrian’s Wall Path. You’ll run through an array of breath-taking landscapes, and as you race, you’re quite literally running through time. There’s nothing like a 2000-year-old wall to make those 21 kilometres seem more manageable.

Hadrian’s Wall running route past the famous tree

The Heavenly Highlands

Or perhaps you fancy the stunning landscapes of Scotland? The Isle of Skye Half Marathon offers stunning vistas as you traverse the rugged and beautiful terrain of the Highlands. This course is a true testament to Scotland’s wild beauty, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment like no other as you cross the finish line amidst the panoramic views of the Cuillin Mountains and the sparkling waters of the Hebrides. After the race, enjoy some whisky tasting and a hearty meal of haggis, neeps, and tatties.

Isle of Skye running route
Isle of Skye running route

The Vibrant Brighton Marathon

For a blend of sea, city, and lots of cheering crowds, the Brighton Marathon is the race for you. Starting and ending by the seafront, the route takes you through the vibrant city, allowing you to soak up the energy from the thousands of spectators lining the streets. After the race, you can cool down with a dip in the sea (if you’re brave enough!) or enjoy fish and chips on the beach.

Charismatic person who has finished the Brighton Marathon
Take part in the Brighton Marathon

The Iconic London Marathon

Of course, no list would be complete without mentioning the biggie: the London Marathon. While not quite an off-the-beaten-path destination, it’s a bucket-list race for many, and it’s easy to see why. Running past iconic landmarks like the Tower Bridge, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace makes for an unforgettable experience. And after the race, why not stay over, so you can explore the city’s rich history, culture, and eclectic food scene.

Guy dressed like a clown (in a nice way) taking part in the London Marathon
Guy dressed like a clown (in a nice way) taking part in the London Marathon

Running in The Rolling Hills of the Cotswolds

Ever felt like leaving the concrete jungle behind and charging through the rolling hills instead? The Cotswold Way Challenge has got you covered. Starting in Bath, the route heads north, traversing an impressive 100 kilometres of quaint villages, beautiful woodland, and yes, those classic rolling hills. It’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is a test of endurance. And the best part? You’ll get to enjoy a well-earned rest in charming B&Bs peppered along the way.

Cotswolds Running Route
Cotswolds Running Route

Go get it – and then relax!

The growing popularity of destination races in the UK presents an exciting opportunity to blend fitness goals with travel. It’s a unique way to see the country, make new friends, and challenge your running skills. And it’s not just about the competition. It’s about embracing the spirit of the journey, about reaching new milestones and maybe even stumbling upon your next favourite UK spot.

So, whether you’re a seasoned marathon runner or a 5k enthusiast, why not step out of your comfort zone and onto the start line of a destination race? After all, it’s all about that winning combination of running, relaxing, and repeating. So, dust off your running shoes, pack your bags, and hit the road! It’s time to embark on an unforgettable running adventure in the UK.

Andy Barr
the authorAndy Barr
Editorial Lead
Andy was late arriving into the world of fitness, running and training. He did not really take up regular gym going until he was in his late 30's. He lost over 7 stone in weight since starting and completed an olympic length triathlon in June 2018. He enjoys playing football, boxing and outdoor running.

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