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5 Best London Marathon Alternatives in 2022

Feeling the pain of not winning out in the London Marathon ballot this year? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. 

The London Marathon is the pinnacle of athletics performance in the UK. It sees the likes of Eluid Kipchoge, Shura Kitata and Brigid Kosgei grace the same course as tens of thousands of runners, fundraising heroes, and of course the wacky Guinness Book of Record Breakers (like the man who spent 6 days crawling the course dressed as a gorilla).

What can I do instead of the London Marathon? 

Though it’s certainly a special race, the atmosphere, community spirit and camaraderie of the London Marathon can be more than matched by lots of marathons happening across the country this year. 

From the “other” run and the One Day I’ll Do London races on the date of the London marathon itself to beloved marathons in historic Clarendon and Loch Ness, you can still secure a marathon spot for 2022 today–no ballot required!

We’ve rounded up our top five UK marathons happening this year that we’d hate you to miss out on. It’s time to cast your net wide and find the one for you.

1.     XTERRA Snowdonia Trail Marathon

This trail marathon is a challenging mixed-terrain course, great for those looking to push yourself this summer. Forget pounding the pavements and big crowds, this  trail marathon will have you traversing the most picturesque views the UK has to offer. 

There will be plenty of hills throughout as well as some challenging terrain, but for marathon runners looking to get away from the big city and escape out to the country: this one’s a dream.

Bonus:  This event also offers a 10k and Half Marathon, so bring friends and family along for the ride or try out a shorter distance before going for gold next year.

2.     PodPlus Kent Spring Marathon

Looking for a Spring marathon instead of a chillier October challenge? Break away from road racing and explore the scenic tracks and lanes of Kent on the PodPlus Kent Spring Marathon.

You’ll make your way through the quaint villages of Charing and Westwell, taking in spectacular views and the encouragement you need from crowds cheering you on in each village. 


Bonus: You can catch a high speed train from London St Pancras and arrive at Ashford International train station within 45 minutes–perfect for city folk and commuters alike.

3.     Bacchus Marathon

The Denbies Vineyard estate hosts a marathon that is one for the fun runners out there. This event is a trail race that is more like a party than a serious marathon. Though the course is quite hilly, you’ll be buoyed along by the aid stations en route which are fully stocked with–you guessed it–wine! 

No cheap plonk here–you’ll get to sample wine made onsite at the vineyard. What’s more, if you’re not feeling up to the Marathon there is also a Half Marathon and 10k to enjoy too, perfect for anyone looking to get a bit jolly on a summer’s day.

Bonus: Fancy dress is encouraged: this is not drill! Join the party dressed as whatever you fancy, great vibes all round.

4.     ABP Southampton Marathon

The ABP Southampton Marathon lands on the ultimate weekend festival of running.

The course is pretty undulating throughout with a couple of hills and you’ll explore the historic landmarks of Southampton. This will be a truly memorable experience for everyone as there is always  plenty of sideline support, music and general cheer as you race through this beautiful city.

Bonus: Any Saints fans out there? This marathon goes straight through St. Mary’s Football stadium!

5.     Milton Keynes Marathon

We couldn’t write about marathons without including this firm fan favourite. 

The Milton Keynes Marathon is voted one of the UK’s best marathons. It’s also a London and Boston Marathon qualifying race, making it the perfect race for anyone looking for a ‘Good For Age’ qualifying entry. 

Though this race is smaller than the Manchester and Brighton marathons, this only adds to the friendly, unintimidating feel of the event. There’s also a stadium finish which will spur you on with some last-minute energy to dash across that finish line.

Bonus: Want to bring the rest of your family along? There are plenty of family friendly and shorter races happening throughout the weekend to keep everyone busy!

Every cloud…

We know you might be feeling discouraged, but just imagine yourself standing on the start line, feeling the cool morning breeze against your skin, the pre-race nerves dissipating as you start to take your first courageous steps across the start line. Fast forward to crossing the finish line to cheers from your loved ones. 

You can still have that marathon experience this year.

Whether you’re a fun runner, a club runner, or you’ve never run before, don’t let missing out on the London Marathon ballot end your marathon journey: it’s just the beginning. 

Sign up to one of these incredible alternatives to the London Marathon today– even if it’s just a practice run for next year!

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