What are the Best UK Marathons?

So, you would like to attempt a marathon for the first time? Or maybe you want to gain a personal best? Whatever your experience, it’s the best feeling in the world to cross the finish line after conquering a marathon!

Runners taking part in the Stirling Scottish Marathon

Your winning moment deserves a winning location, so here’s our selection of the best marathons in the UK:

The Virgin Money London Marathon

Why we rate it… The cornerstone of the UK running calendar. The jewel in the marathon crown. The bucket list frequenter. The difficult entry process is testament to the popularity of this televised event. Well worth trying your luck with the ballot!

Feeling keen? Next race is in 2020 and normally costs £35

Great for… everyone! The London marathon is one of the most inclusive marathons in the world!

Simply Health Great Stirling Run

Why we rate it… You’ll deserve a deep-fried Mars bar after tackling this! Starting and finishing in Stirling’s gorgeous city centre, this scenic route allows you to experience the wonders of Scottish countryside and heritage - but careful the hill at mile 17! 

Feeling keen?  Next race is in 2020 and normally costs £58

Great for… Running families looking for a whole weekend of fun

Edinburgh Marathon

Why we rate it… The place to achieve your PB dreams! Voted the fastest marathon in the UK in 2008, this speedy course includes a descent to near sea level and whizzes you through the city centre and the Royal Mile, and all with Edinburgh castle as a backdrop!

Feeling keen? Charity places are still available for 26th May 2019 and costs from £60

Great for… Runners looking for an impressive time.

Milton Keynes Marathon

Why we rate it… Stadium finish. Post-race music festival. Scenic route with tree lined boulevards. Is there a better way to spend your bank holiday? 

Feeling keen? Next race is on 6th May 2019 and costs £50

Great for… Those looking to qualify for London or Boston

Greater Manchester Marathon

Why we rate it… Boasting a crowd of over 20,000 runners, this marathon is one of the fastest and biggest in Europe! 2020 entrants will be the first to experience the city centre course amendment to show off landmarks like the Manchester Opera House

Feeling keen? Next race is on Sunday 5th April 2020 - entry open now and costs £49

Great for… Those who missed out on London but are still hungry for the electricity of a massive event

Blackpool Marathon

Why we rate it… This flat course is awesome for beginners (and wimps!) but the 2 laps style may demand extra stamina and determination! 

Feeling keen? Next race is on Sunday 28th April 2019 and costs £36.50

Great for… Running families looking for a weekend away

Brighton Marathon

Why we rate it… Expect enthusiastic crowd support, live music and a sparkling sea view to see you along the flat promenade!

Feeling keen?  18thApril 2019. Ballots will open end of Spring for April 2020 and cost around £65

Great for… Those wanting a break from city centre runs

Bournemouth Marathon

Why we rate it… Oh, we do like to be beside the sea side … with thousands of others sweating it out for 26.2 miles! The scenery is the real winner on this course - piers, promenades and woodland! Too much sightseeing though and you might just fall prey to the inclines around this route!

Feeling keen? Next race is on 5th October 2019 and costs £55

Great for… Those looking to start challenging themselves

MBNA Chester Marathon

Why we rate it… Chester aims to please, with this offering of a flat race route through city and North Wales countryside. A crazy 70% of their 2014 entrants bagged PBs as they crossed the River Dee finish- how’s that for motivation?!

Feeling keen? Next race is on 6th October 2019 and costs £47.75 before 1st August

Great for…Those looking for a speedy run before entering the dreary Winter months

Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Why we rate it… Rock ‘n’ Roll plays you to victory at this scenic Liverpudlian marathon. Apart from being a great boost over the hilly miles, the jazzy tunes attract buzzing crowd support

Feeling keen? Next race is on May 26, 2019 and costs £50

Great for…Those looking for an experience but not necessarily a PB (but don’t let us stop you trying!)


If you are looking for your next marathon, take a look at our event listings to find the perfect event for you - Marathon Listings

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UK Marathons

A marathon is often seen as the ultimate challenge for long-distance runners. Covering 26.2 miles, a marathon will challenge your fitness, endurance, pace, and grit, but reward you with an amazing sense of accomplishment at the finish line! Marathons take place all over the world, with well-known events such as the London or New York marathons attracting thousands of entrants every year.

Why run a marathon?

For many runners, once they’ve trained up from completing a 5k, 10k or haIf marathon, completing a full marathon is the big race that will be in their sights. A marathon is no easy feat, but if you’ve already completed a few longer races such as 10k or half marathon distance, you should be able to increase your training and take on a marathon as the next natural progression in your running journey. That being said, even If you’ve never run competitively before, many beginners often choose to take on a marathon as a way to encourage a change in fitness and lifestyle and to have a real challenge to work towards. You’re sure to feel a great sense of achievement after running your first marathon, regardless of your time, and you might just catch the running bug too!

Aside from being a great form of cardiovascular exercise, there are plenty of other great benefits to running too. Firstly, if you’re thinking of taking up running as a way to lose some weight, running a marathon is a big commitment, and through your training, you’ll work on getting your heart rate up and burning calories.

Another reason to sign up for a marathon is that it’s a great way to raise money for charity. Marathons are really popular events for fundraising and there are hundreds of marathons in the UK every year. Some people even choose to so the whole race in fancy dress to make fundraising that bit more interesting!

Finally, running your first marathon is a great way to really challenge yourself and improve your long-distance running ability. Once you’ve finished one marathon you’ll be looking for your next race to beat your PB. If you’d rather start with a shorter distance to ease into running, why not check out a 5k or 10k race first?

Marathons near me

Whilst you’ll have no doubt heard of some of the most popular marathons out there such as the London Marathon, did you know that there are dozens of local marathon events that take place every year in the UK too? As marathons are popular events and great for fundraising, you’ll find that there are more and more marathons springing up across the UK all the time, meaning that there is bound to be one that is easy and convenient for you to get to. Another benefit of joining one of the smaller marathon events nearby is that you’re less likely to miss out on a place and joining fees are generally lower.

If you’re looking for ways to get more active, or even start exercising more with a friend or partner, training for a marathon together is a great way to introduce a little friendly competition and also support each other in reaching your fitness goals. We list lots of marathon events that take place all over the UK, so be sure to take a look for marathons near you using the search bar on the left. You can then find races based on location and other options using the filters to find the perfect event for you.

Marathons near me and fundraising

As we’ve mentioned, running a marathon is a great way to raise some money for a good cause, and with such a long race distance, you could even get people to sponsor you per mile. As well as the better-known events, such as the Virgin London Marathon and the Great Run series, there are plenty of smaller local events you can sign up to as well. In fact, many local charities organise their own events to raise money for specific causes.

Setting up funding for a marathon is easy too. Most charities will provide you with a sponsorship pack to get started you can also fundraise online and share your goals with your friends on social media. Running in a local marathon race is also an ideal way to raise money for charities that are based in your local community, and also a great way to get more familiar with your local area.

Charity marathon events are some of the most popular events out there, so if you want to get into running then these are a great place to start!

How can I find a charity marathons near me?

If you’ve decided to run a marathon for a charity, you may be wondering ‘where are the charity marathon events near me?’. Well, you’re in the right place! On the UK Fitness Events website, you’ll find pages of fitness events that are taking place all across the UK. Use the search bar on the left and once you’ve filtered down the type of race you’re looking to take part in, you can then further refine the results by selecting your location and then choosing from a range of charities that you are interested in supporting.

If you’d like to support a charity that isn’t listed, you’re welcome to do that too! Be sure to check the website of your chosen charity to find out more about getting started with fundraising.

Training for a marathon

Marathons are probably the biggest challenge a runner will ever face and will push you to all your limits. Marathons require a much longer training plan where you have to train both your body and mind to be able to stand up to the length of the race.

If your goal is to do a marathon or even half marathon then you’ll need to get lots of training done before you even look at the track! Start off similar to a 5K prep with smaller runs and sprints and then slowly build up the length of the runs you do. You’ll also want to get into the right diet regime too so that your body gets in the right shape, find out more by looking at our marathon training plan

What are the best UK marathons 2020?

The most famous marathon is the Virgin Money London Marathon, though there are many others dotted around the country too such as the Brighton or Edinburgh marathons which provide just as much challenge and give you multiple scenic routes to run on. For a little more adventure you can also look at something like the Midnight Marathon Run which will have you sprinting around a mountain in total darkness! Want to find more, take a look at our guide to the Best UK Marathons

Related posts

Are you looking for some more information on marathons? We have some great quick-read articles covering everything from pace, training and nutrition to top tips. See some of our related posts below:

Calories burnt running a Marathon

How long is a marathon?

How to train for a marathon

Top Marathon Running Tips

What are the Best UK Marathons?

What is the average marathon time?

How to run a marathon faster

What to eat before a marathon