The Top 5 Marathons to Run in England, UK

The Top 5 Marathons to Run in England

When it comes to running in Marathons England has an abundance of races to choose from. Marathon running is very popular from up in the North East right down to the far South of the country and everywhere in between. Here we list our top 5 English Marathons from number one through to number five.

London Marathon

London Marathon

The first London Marathon was run in 1981and little did we know back then that the London Marathon would become one of the world's biggest Marathons with thousands and thousands of people applying to take part every year. The London Marathon takes place in April every year and passes some of the most iconic London landmarks along the way. Virgin Money now sponsors the London Marathon, while millions of pounds are raised every year for many charities that sponsor runners who take part. The next London Marathon takes place on 24th April 2016.

The Route

The route of the London Marathon circulates around the roads along the River Thames beginning in Blackheath and ending in the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. From Blackheath participants run for around three miles towards Charlton and Woolwich then head towards Greenwich where they will run past the fabulous Cutty Sark one of Greenwich's most famous landmarks.

Once they cross over the magnificent Tower Bridge runners then pass through the East End of London, Docklands, on to Canary Wharf then head west to Parliament Square via Highway and Embankment. The final stage of the London Marathon passes along Birdcage Walk and past Buckingham Palace onto the Mall where the race ends.

London Marathon Runners

How to Enter

There are so many millions of people who want to enter the London Marathon every year that organisers have to select who runs by fitting applicants under a list of criteria such as

Charity Runners

Those who wish to run in the Marathon in order to raise money for charity are advised to contact their chosen charity to ascertain whether the charity has any allocated places in the London Marathon or if they want to apply to enter sponsored runners. Many charities are already associated with the London Marathon. Please visit the website to see if your chosen charity is listed.

Entry by Ballot

Runners may apply via the online ballot process in order to enter the London Marathon. The organisers have already closed the online ballot for the 2016 race and those who are lucky enough to be entered into the race should be informed by October 2015.

British Athletic Clubs

Affiliated Athletics clubs may apply for their members to enter the Marathon, while those who have reached championship status may also apply via their running club.

Good for Your Age

This is self-explanatory really as those who fall into different age categories and have reached a certain standard may be able to apply to run the London Marathon under this banner.

Elite Athletes with Disability

Applications for athletes with a disability will be opened in January 2016. Entrants must be IPC registered and be able to finish the wheelchair race within three hours.

Overseas Entry

Runners who live abroad must apply for overseas entry via the London Marathon's approved overseas agents. A current list of overseas tour operators is available at the website.

Deferred Entry

Runners who had to pull out of the 2015 Marathon due to illness, accident or some unforeseen happening may be able to attain a deferred place in next year's Marathon. Please contact the race organisers to see if you qualify.

  • Virgin Money London Marathon Exhibition
  • Excel
  • 1 Western Gateway
  • Royal Victoria Dock
  • London
  • E16 1XL

The Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon

Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon

The Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon was established in 2013 and has gained in popularity ever since with thousands of runners taking part every year. The next Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon takes place on Sunday 11th October meaning there is a good gap between Marathons run in the spring such as the London Marathon and the Yorkshire event in the autumn. Runners come from all over the world to take part in the Yorkshire Marathon, while relay teams are also welcome to participate splitting the course into manageable runs within the 26.2 miles. Inspired by Jane Tomlinson the courageous cancer sufferer who raised so much money for cancer charities the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon is just one of the races that are organised in her memory.

The Route

The race starts at the University of York heading towards Micklegate around the amazing York Minster, along Stockton Lane, Sandy Lane, Northgate then to Grange Wood and Buttercrambe Moor Wood. Now the race turns to head back towards the City of York passing Catton and Dunnington circling back to pass Turkers Wood, Murton and Osbaldwick until it heads back to the centre to the finish line.

The route passes some beautiful open countryside with amazing views, while also passing some of the major tourist attractions of the Medieval City of York such as the Roman walls and of course York Minster. The race certainly shows off York in all its glory, while as far as support goes crowds that turn out for the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon grow year on year.

Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon Runners

How to Enter

Unfortunately for the 2015 race all general entries have been filled with successful candidates informed via email but there are other ways to enter the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon such as

Running in a Relay

The Northern Gas Networks Yorkshire Marathon Corporate Relay is a central part of the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon offering paces for teams of six runners to take part. Relay teams are welcomed from

  • Business professionals
  • Groups of friends
  • Associations
  • Sports Clubs

Those wishing to enter a relay team are able to register their team at the Yorkshire Marathon website.

Run for Charity

The Yorkshire Marathon is associated with ten charities as well as the Jane Tomlinson charities. Those who wish to run the Marathon in order to raise money for charity must contact the charity or the race website where the ten specific charities are listed.

Contact is via the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon website. Email

Greater Manchester Marathon

Greater Manchester Marathon

The Greater Manchester Marathon prides itself on being one of the UK's flattest, fastest and friendliest Marathons. Runners enter this Marathon year on year as this race has great support from spectators plus participants will receive a medal and an ASICS (the race sponsor) technical Shirt if they finish the course.

The Route

The next Greater Manchester Marathon takes place in the Trafford area in April 2016. The race starts at the junction of Chester and Trafford Wharf Road on the A56 White City roundabout then heads down Chester Road past Gorse Hill. The race heads down Chapel Road past Sale Moor onto Marsland Road, down Brooklands Road, onto Stockport Road through Altrincham then circles round Stamford New Road and Market Street and back up Stockport Road. The race proceeds through Urmston along Stretford Road, up Derbyshire Lane with the end in sight at Manchester United Football Club.

Greater Manchester Marathon Runners

How to Enter

There are a number of ways to enter for the Greater Manchester Marathon including

Elite Runners

Elite runners are invited to join the Marathon free of charge. The criteria for entry is as follows

  • Elite Men must run the Marathon within two hours and thirty minutes
  • Elite Women must run the Marathon within two hours and fifty minutes

Cash prizes are offered for first second and third placed runners.


Member of an Affiliated Club

Those who are members of affiliated running clubs may enter quoting their UKA membership number. Entrants may apply as individuals, wheelchair users and corporate individuals. Whichever criteria you meet then you will be presented with an online application form to fill in.

Charity Runners

Runners may also enter the Greater Manchester Marathon by running for a designated charity such as the Christie Charity that is a well-known cancer charity. Runners who wish to run for this charity must specify so when they fill in the online application. Other designated charities include Cancer Research, Manchester Children's Hospital and community programmes.

Those who wish to apply now may do so via the Greater Manchester Marathon website where special early bird fees are now being offered.

  • Greater Manchester Marathon Limited
  • The Moorings
  • Dane Road Industrial Estate
  • Sale
  • Cheshire
  • M33 7BP
  • Tele 0161 928 6795

New Forest Marathon

New Forest Marathon

The New Forest Marathon in Hampshire has been an integral part of the running season of the area since 1983. Runners who have taken part in The New Forest Marathon in the past will testify to the wonderful scenery plus the challenge that this Marathon offers. The 2015 race takes place on September 13th in Brockenhurst Hampshire and will raise money through sponsorship for a whole host of deserving charities.

The Route

The route for the New Forest Marathon is a multi-terrain course that passes through picturesque forest areas, villages and open roads, while let's not forget the New Forest Ponies that runners will pass. The ponies are very popular and have inhabited the New Forest since the end of the Ice Age. The Marathon starts at 9am and allows runners around six and a half hours to complete the race. The route is subject to change therefore runners should check at the website nearer the race date.

New Forest Marathon Runners

How to Enter

There are various ways in which to apply to enter the New Forest Marathon

UKA Affiliated Members

Those who are members of an affiliated running club may apply to enter the New Forest Marathon online at the website. Entry costs £43.00

Unaffiliated Runners

Unaffiliated runners are also welcome to apply online at the cost of £45.00. Both entries include chip timing, T shirt, race medal, race-day magazine and goody bag.

Charity Runners

The New Forest Marathon supports many local charities with the New Forest Community Fund just one of the charities runners may be entered through. Runners may also decide to run to raise money for a charity of their own choice. Please contact the charity directly in order to ascertain if they would like you to run on their behalf. Runners who run for a charity of their own choice are asked to donate their first £10.00 to the New Forest Community Fund.

  • Contact with the race organisers is available via email at the website.

Brighton Marathon

Brighton Marathon

Brighton is a place that simply buzzes with excitement all year round but none more so than when it celebrates the Brighton Marathon Weekend. The Marathon Weekend incorporates the Marathon, a 10K, Mini Mile races and the Exhibition into forty eight hours of fun and frolics. This vibrant seaside town welcomes over one hundred and fifty thousand spectators over the running weekend offering support while creating an awesome atmosphere for runners to experience. The Brighton Marathon has been run for the last five years and gets bigger and better every year!

The Route

Runners who take part in the Brighton Marathon will experience bracing air while passing all the great landmarks that make Brighton so popular with its visitors. The race sets off from Preston Park in Brighton and meanders through the streets of the town with the race finishing on the seafront where amazing sea views can be seen. The race is run in April therefore the next Brighton Marathon will be in April 2017.

The route enables spectators and friends to cheer runners on as there are plenty of great viewing points along the way. From Preston Park runners pass Brighton Station looping around to pass Kemp Town, then around Greenways onto the Coast Road. The route then passes the Brighton Marina and Pier then passes along Grand Avenue and New Church Road. The route then circles back on itself passing the power station then straight along the road to the finish line at Beach Village. The Beach Village is where charity organisers can greet their runners to congratulate them on finishing the course, while the village features food, drink, a big screen and entertainment. What a way to end a Marathon!

Brighton Marathon Runners

How to Enter

It looks like most of the General Entries to the next Brighton Marathon in 2016 have been filled therefore runners may apply via the categories below

Charity Runners

The Brighton Marathon has around four hundred charities who all support places in the Marathon every year. Runners may choose any charity they wish, contact the charity direct and hopefully secure a place to run on their behalf and raise lots of money through sponsorship. What better incentive is there to complete the Marathon when you are struggling mid race than to think of the money you are raising for your given charity. Some of the charities you may like to consider include the NSPCC or Cancer Research UK. There is a search facility at the website where you can browse the list of charities included.

Deferred Entry

Those who have an entry to the 2016 Brighton Marathon and find that they are unable to commit may defer their entry until the 2017 race. This will guarantee runners an entry to the 2017 race, while also receiving a 20% discount on the cost. Deferred entry requests must be submitted by 5pm on Friday April 15th 2016. You will receive a reply within four days and must register for 2017 using the link provided in the email. Charity runners must contact their chosen charity in order to defer their entry.

  • Contact the race organisers via email at the website or
  • Tele 08453 1000 88