The Best UK Half Marathons For 2018 And 2019: When And How To Bag A Place

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Castle Howard Half Marathon

Next event: 22nd July 2018

Like castles? Like running? Then every event in the Castle Run series will be right up your street. The runs all take place in the grounds of castles in UK, Ireland and France. There are several half marathons to choose between, but we think the event at Castle Howard near York is the pick of the bunch thanks to its spectacular off-road route around the Howardian Hills. £40, castletriathlonseries.co.uk/castle-run-series

Great North Run

Next event: 9th September 2018

The grandfather of UK half marathons – over one million people have completed the Great North Run since the first event in 1981. The course starts in the centre of Newcastle, with runners crossing the Tyne Bridge before heading out to the coast to finish in South Shields. The ballot for the race opened on Wednesday 3rd January and closes at noon on Monday 5th February. greatrun.org/great-north-run

Scottish Half Marathon

Next event: 23rd September 2018

The bulk of the route of the Scottish Half Marathon runs along the coast of East Lothian, just outside Edinburgh, with the race finishing at Musselburgh racecourse, which has been holding horse-racing events since 1816. PB hunters will be pleased to learn that the course is a very fast one, with runners heading downhill for the most part in the first 6km before settling in to the flat along the coast. £34, scottishhalfmarathon.com

Great Bristol Half Marathon

Next event: 23rd September 2018

It’s rare that you enjoy a lengthy switchback section of a half marathon, but when it allows a second view of the magnificent Clifton Suspension Bridge it’s worth doubling back. As well as Brunel’s famous structure, runners are treated to views of the impressive Avon Gorge, and the race starts and finishes in the city’s historic Harbourside area. £35 early bird, greatrun.org/great-bristol-half-marathon

Ealing Half Marathon

Next event: 30th September 2018

The Ealing Half Marathon has only been running since 2012, but it has already established a reputation for an excellent atmosphere that makes runners of all stripes welcome. It’s one of just three closed-road half marathons in London, so it’s worth taking your chance to tackle the capital’s roads traffic-free. £38 early bird until 31st January, £44 after, ealinghalfmarathon.com

Oxford Half Marathon

Next event: 7th October 2018

Oxford is one of the UK’s prettiest cities and perhaps the only better way to see it than lazily punting (or even lazier, being punted) along its waterways is to run a half marathon around it. The Oxford Half is a staple of the autumn calendar, with a scenic and flat course that winds around university buildings, city parks and the historic village of Old Marston. £48, uk.virginsport.com/event/oxford-2018

Bournemouth Half Marathon

Next event: 7th October 2018

Aside from a couple of inland miles right at the start, the route of this half marathon sticks resolutely to the seaside, with runners visiting Boscombe and Bournemouth piers as they wind their way along the coast. The half marathon is part of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival, with 5K, 10K and full marathon races also available. £31 early bird, bournemouthmarathon.com/half-marathon

Kielder Half Marathon

Next event: 7th October 2018

Kielder Water in Northumberland is the stunning setting for this race, which is part of a running festival that also includes a full marathon and 10K. The half marathon starts with a 6km out-and-back stretch past a huge spectator point on Kielder Dam, which should hopefully provide enough motivation to power you through the rest of the race around the southern half of the lake. £35, kieldermarathon.com/half-marathon

Royal Parks Half Marathon

Next event: 14th October 2018

The Royal Parks half may not be the only half marathon to take place on closed roads in the centre of London any more (hello London Landmarks half), but it’s the only one that takes a break from the concrete in not one but four Royal Parks: Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. It’s also a flat, fast course if you fancy clocking up a record time before letting yourself go in the run-up to Christmas. The public ballot for the 2018 Royal Parks Half has already closed, but you can still get a charity spot in the race. royalparkshalf.com

The Big Half

Next event: 10th March 2019

The first edition of this half marathon almost fell victim to the Beast From The East’s cold embrace, but the temperature rose just enough for the race to go ahead – and a very successful one it was too. The course starts at Tower Bridge and finishes in Greenwich, following a similar route to the first half of the London Marathon, and organisers make a big effort to get as many runners as possible involved from the four boroughs it passes through – Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Greenwich – with a discounted entry price of £30 and a relay event only open to local residents. £39, thebighalf.co.uk

London Landmarks Half Marathon

Next event: 24th March 2018

Londoners really have become spoilt for choice when it comes to spring half marathons, with the Landmarks Half also launching in 2018 alongside The Big Half. As you’d expect from the name, the route of the Landmarks Half is strewn with the capital’s top sights, with runners starting on Pall Mall, finishing on Downing Street and passing pretty much every notable building in the centre of the city in between. The ballot for the event closed on 9th July, but there are also charity spots available for the race. £55, llhm.co.uk