The London Marathon is undoubtedly an amazing event to be a part of, which is why it is so massively oversubscribed. Each year thousands of people are disappointed not to have received a place in the ballot for entries. The results of the ballot for the 2022 edition, taking place on 2 October, have just been announced. If you’re one of the lucky ones, congratulations! But if you’re going to have to miss out this year, we’ve got ten alternative races to the London Marathon that may just be of interest to you.
It’s impossible to find a race that’s exactly like the London Marathon, but it is possible to find races that have elements of what makes London so special. At the time of writing, all of them have places available. They’re also all taking place this autumn, so you still have plenty of time to train. Please note, these aren’t endorsed by Lonely Goat Running Club, and we don’t get any kind of commission if you enter. We’re just sharing these as they’ve caught our eye and we think they might be of interest to you too.
A marathon in London
Richmond RUNFEST, 11/09/22
OK, it’s not the London Marathon, but it is a London marathon – albeit one that takes place away from the city centre in the western suburbs. The race starts in Kew Gardens and takes in Hampton Court Palace, so its a good-looking, scenic course.
Big event atmosphere
No other UK races are quite as big and exciting as London, but there’s a few that get close, including:
Loch Ness Marathon, 02/10/22
A fairly small race, with a big buzz, taking in the shores of Loch Ness.
Yorkshire Marathon, 16/10/22
Mostly flat, one lap, and combining York’s picturesque city and surrounding villages.
Newport Wales Marathon, 23/10/22
Created to give South Wales an event with that big marathon vibe.
A race with history
Isle of Wight, 02/10/22
For many in the UK, London is the only marathon that matters. But it isn’t the longest running 26.2 miler – not by a long way! One of the longest continually run races in the world is the Isle of Wight Marathon, first run in 1957. Expect a small-scale event, with a tight-knit, grassroots feel.
The marathon is often considered the “everyman’s Everest”. If you’re missing out on the challenge of running the London marathon, why not dial up the difficulty even further by heading off road?
Run between the historic cathedral cities of Salisbury and Winchester, this race follows the ancient Clarendon Way on country tracks and paths.
Endurancelife Gower Marathon
If 26.2 miles isn’t enough for you, this race is around 27.5 miles long and includes more than 3,400 foot of climbing. If you take the time to stop suffering for a moment, you’ll be able to take in the scenery of the Gower Peninsula, the first place in Britain to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Fast and flat
Though the London Marathon isn’t the fastest marathon course in the world, as it has a few twists and bumps to deal with, it is still a great race to try and run a personal best in. If you’re a PB hunter, check out these alternatives:
For many, Abingdon is the autumn race to run fast times in the UK. If the course isn’t enough to get you running quickly (very few tight turns, almost completely flat), the 5 hour cut off will!
Starting and finishing on Chester’s racecourse, the course weaves its way into Wales and back on a flat, fast route. It also hosts the England Athletics Age Group Masters Marathon Championship.
Part of the excitement of the London Marathon is that it brings together thousands of runners from all over the world. The other autumn ‘World Marathon Majors‘ – Berlin, Chicago and New York City – also have that level of global reach, but are also now sold out or difficult to get places in.
Alternatively, you can head to Amsterdam: A fast, flat course; a 40+ year history; and a high percentage of international runners converging on a major European city for a well-organised race. Plus, you can get there by train in just under 4 hours from London – avoiding the need to fly.
No need for FOMO
It can feel like the whole running scene in the UK is centred on the London Marathon, but there are loads of other races to choose from. We’ve only shared ten here, but there’s a lot more we could have included. Hop into the Lonely Goat Running Club chat group on Facebook, and ask your fellow members for their recommendations.
And if you still want to run the London Marathon in 2022, remember that there are still charity places available if you want to raise money for a good cause.