Ten of the best UK Marathons outside of London

Posted by Stuart Morrison on

Every year tens of thousands of runners apply to London Marathon. And every year most of them are rejected, many being rejected for the umteenth time.

It's understandable. The London Marathon is pretty awesome. The crowds, the atmosphere, the emotion of the day, all add together to create a truly memorable experience. To want to be part of that make perfect sense. However, its popularity is immense. Consequently, far too many runners apply for a limited number of places. However, we think this shouldn't be the 'end of the world'.

There are many marathons in the UK. And most are very good. Some, maybe every bit as memorable as London. Here are 10 that we think are worth a look.


1. Brighton Marathon
First run in 2010, the Brighton Marathon has become a firm favourite. As well as being popular with those unlucky in the London Marathon ballot, it has established itself as a much-desired race in its own right. Although somewhat pricey, the central location, great seafront course and amazing crowds, mean that this event is never short of applicants.

Brighton Marathon

Date : 10 April 2022
Location : Brighton, East Sussex
Cost : £65
URL : https://brightonmarathonweekend.co.uk


2. Snowdonia Marathon
A tough race, but ever-popular. Twice voted the best marathon in the UK, this challenging marathon circles around the base of Mount Snowdon, giving runners stunning views of the Welsh countryside. Apply early, as this race is sure to fill.

Snowdonia Marathon

Date : 29 October 2022
Location : Llanberis, Gwynedd
Cost : £42
URL : http://www.snowdoniamarathon.co.uk


3. Chester Marathon
Run 26. 2 miles through the Tudor-styled town of Chester. This well-organised races offers runners a wealth of historical sights, including the Roman Walls, the Amphitheatre, Old Dee Bridge, Eastgate Clock and the Cathedral. We thoroughly recommend it. 

Chester Marathon

Date : 2 October 2022
Location : Chester, Cheshire
Cost : £55
URL : https://www.activeleisureevents.co.uk/marathon


4. Loch Ness Marathon
Run a marathon with a chance of seeing the famous Loch Ness Monster. Established in 2002, it has been an ever-popular event, being described as “Breathtakingly beautiful” with a “friendly atmosphere”. It is also sure to compete with other October races for the attention of unlucky London applicants.

Loch Ness Marathon

Date : 2 October 2022
Location : Inverness, Highland
Cost : £62
URL : http://www.lochnessmarathon.com


5. Manchester Marathon
Well established as a top-tier marathon. A fun, flat and friendly race with crowd support to rival any other event. Whether it's your first marathon or you're seeking a PB, this could be the event you want.

Manchester Marathon

Date : 3 April 2022
Location : Manchester, Lancashire
Cost : £65
URL : https://www.manchestermarathon.co.uk




6. Windermere Marathon
An overlooked gem, run entirely within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Often described as the friendliest and most beautiful marathon in the UK, runners enjoy  a breath-taking course, finishing in the grounds of Brathay Hall with stunning views over England's largest lake.

Windermere Marathon

Date : 22 May 2022
Location : Windermere, Cumbria
Cost : £48
URL : https://www.brathaychallenges.com/events/running/marathon


7. Edinburgh Marathon
Starting in the grounds of Edinburgh University, runners enjoy a net-downhill course. Passing Edinburgh's historical sites, then towards and along the coast, this is a scenic, memorable race, also known for friendly, supportive participants and crowds.

Edinburgh Marathon

Date : 29 May 2022
Location : Edinburgh, Lothian
Cost : £64
URL : https://www.edinburghmarathon.com


8. Yorkshire Marathon
Described as being "charged with Yorkshire Spirit", this has been a popular event since it started in 2013. Predominantly flat, with great crowd support, this is a race with great atmosphere and opportunity for a PB / good finish time.

Yorkshire Marathon

Date : 16 October 2022
Location : York, Yorkshire
Cost : £66
URL : https://www.runforall.com/events/marathon/yorkshire-marathon/


9. Belfast City Marathon
Running from Stromont to Ormeau Park runners enjoy a journey through much of the city, including historically significant areas of the city. As well as being flat and fast, it its well known for its friendly crowds.

Belfast Marathon

Date : 1 May 2022
Location : Belfast
Cost : £65
URL : https://belfastcitymarathon.com


10. Milton Keynes Marathon
Consistently ranked as one of the top marathons in the UK. As well as all the typical popular attributes - good course, great crowds, excellent race day organisation, etc, the Milton Keynes Marathon in one of the few non-US Boston Marathon qualifying races.

Milton Keynes Marathon

Date : 2 May 2022
Location : Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Cost : £54
URL : https://mkmarathon.com