People run for many reasons. To escape. To lose weight. To compete. To achieve a heightened state of enlightenment and a true understanding of the human condition. Or simply to make it to the toilet on time. Whatever your reason and whatever your level of running experience (from “What is running?” to “Just a steady 9-miler today, it’s my rest day”), here are five runs to inspire you to get off your backside, put that second packet of custard creams away and get your trainers on. Run on!
Completely free of charge? Check. Held every single week? Double check. Local? You had better believe it. Open to all abilities, children and even dogs? Check mate! Parkrun is a national running phenomenon organised entirely by volunteers that has been growing across the UK since 2004, with over 240 local community parkruns now taking place and new ones cropping up all the time. Runs are held at 9am on Saturday mornings and at 5km, are a nice distance for beginners through to seasoned pros. So ditch the lie-in, find your nearest parkrun and give it a go this weekend. www.parkrun.org.uk
Race for Life
This female-only series of over 300 events across the UK is organised by Cancer Research UK, with sponsorship raised by participants going towards invaluable research to help fight and treat all forms of cancer. Those taking park can walk, jog or run the 5km distance for a truly worthy cause. Celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, the Race for Life series has generated almost half a billion pounds for the charity since its inception. Get involved ladies, you know it makes sense. www.cancerresearchuk.org
Run the Bridge
Forget the Golden Gate Bridge. Forget the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This race offers a unique opportunity to run traffic-free across the World’s most iconic bridge: the Runcorn Bridge (or the Silver Jubilee Bridge to give its official title). Held annually on Easter Sunday and now in its 15th Year, the 5 mile “Run the Bridge” event sees starters cross the Bridge before heading through the idyllic streets of Widnes (quick tip: run fast) and finishing with refreshments at Hale Village Park. After which you can go home, relax and stuff your face with Easter Eggs, eating yourself into a chocolate-induced coma, in the manner that the Lord Jesus Christ would have intended. www.runhalton.co.uk
The London Marathon
There probably isn’t a lot more to be said about the London Marathon that hasn’t already been said already, but the chance to run 26.2 miles through the streets of the nation’s capital alongside full-grown men dressed as Teletubbies, A-list celebrities from Anneka Rice to Joe Pasquale and genuine sporting royalty – this year in the form of Double World and Olympic Champion, Mo Farah – ensures that this is the running event that makes it onto more Bucket Lists than any other. www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com
Sport Relief Mile
As the title suggests, Sport Relief is the more athletic, healthier and better-looking cousin of fellow charity-fundraising shindig, Comic Relief (apparently a massive red nose doesn’t go down too well with the opposite sex). Classic Sport Relief moments from yesteryear include former Radio One DJ Chris Moyles’ ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro and comedian Dara O’Briain nearly suffering death-by-crocodiles on the Zambezi River. The good news is that you too can get involved in helping raise valuable funds without going to quite such extreme lengths. There are a range of Sport Relief “Miles” taking place across the country, where participants can choose to run/walk/crawl a distance of one, three or six miles, so why not sign up for your nearest one today. www.sportrelief.com
We hope this has inspired you to add and check these off your bucket list!