The popularity of long distance, endurance running has exploded in recent years, as more and more eager runners slip on their trainers, tie up their laces, and hit the roads in search of that natural high and huge feeling of achievement when you cross the finish line.
Every year, more and more 5k, 10k and marathon races spring up across Manchester and the North West; so many in fact, it’s hard to keep track of them.
But don’t worry, we’ve put together a list of the some of the biggest, most popular and most challenging races in the area this summer.
The benefits of running different races
The pinnacle of road races for most of us is undoubtedly the marathon. 26.2 miles of sweat, pain and determination running around a city.
But to get up to this level of endurance and fitness, you need to train well beforehand. Shorter, varied races can really boost your ability to run for longer distances and also bring a host of additional benefits to your body, including:
- Avoiding plateaus with speedier sprints
- Testing your abilities and mental strength without much muscle damage
- Helping you prepare for the pressure of a big race
- Forcing you into whole body workouts to train for obstacle events
Even if you’ve achieved the ultimate victory and completed a marathon, returning to shorter races will bring new challenges and new benefits to your fitness.
So don’t just plan on one running event a year; take a look at the huge number of options below, and try a few to slowly prepare yourself for the big one or to keep your running varied and challenging.
Long distance road races
- Great Manchester Run – 22nd May
The North West’s premier and most popular 10K event, with a road-based route around some of Manchester’s most iconic locations.
- Colshaw Hall 10K – 26th June
A 10k run around this luxurious Knutsford estate, with a junior fun run added to the event making it fun for all the family.
- Offerton 10K – 29th June
In conjunction with Stockport Harries, this 10k event takes in 3 laps of the lovely Woodbank and Vernon parks, with some narrow paths and challenging hills.
- UKFast We Love Manchester 10k – 10th July
Also known as the City of Manchester 10k, this race starts at the Etihad Stadium before heading out through two laps of Sport City, and finishes on the official track in the stadium with a crowd of cheering supporters.
- UKFast Salford 10k – 4th September
Meandering through MediaCityUK and Trafford Park, this fast paced 10k race is sure to give you great views and an amazing workout.
- Stockport ‘Hatters’ Half Marathon – 4th September
Around Edgeley Park, down the River Mersey and then picking up the Trans Pennine Trail, this is a very scenic 13.1 mile run.
- WR10K Manchester – 11th September
This women’s only event arrives in Manchester for the first time this year, taking in the award-winning beauty at Wythenshawe Park.
- English Half Marathon, Warrington – 18th September
Now in it’s 8th year, this event races through the streets of Warrington to the Golden Gate finish in front of the town hall. A 10K road race and family mile are also part of the day.
- Manchester Half Marathon – 16th October
Race hard and fast on this 13.1 mile flat course, with an amazing 2 mile finishing straight right into Lancashire County Cricket Club at Old Trafford. With a route passing through Sale and Brooklands, it’s one of the closest to Hale Country Club too!
- Physiofit May Fair Fun Run – 20th May
Encouraging fitness and heart health, this 5k evening run through Alderley Edge is suitable for all ages and abilities, with participants ranging from fast runners to Nordic walkers!
- Peter Lowe Memorial Hollins Green Run – 19th June
A flat, fast 5k course around this scenic village just east of Warrington, there’s also a 1K family run too, suitable for everyone.
- Lymm Festival Trail Races – 3rd July
Taking in footpaths, fields and tracks, this event features a 2k fun run, a 5k single lap and a 10k double lap.
- Wizard 5 – 7th July
Hosted by Wilmslow Running Club, the Wizard 5 is an annual 5k event that takes in a mixture of track, paths, grass and some road running all around Alderley Edge.
- Enormous Elephant Run – 9th July
With three different routes at 5k, 10k, and 15k, there aren’t many events on the race calendar where you run around Heaton Park in Manchester wearing a giant elephant costume!
Off-road and obstacle events
- Last Drop Loop – 14th May
This rural, fell run takes in all the ups and downs of the hills and moorlands overlooking Bolton and up into the Pennines. It’s a challenging run and climb, at 5.7 miles.
- Tour of Tameside – 16th – 19th June
A marathon distance spread over 4 days, this is one the most unusual events on the calendar. You can enter individual events, or do the whole tour, which includes, a 10K cross trail event, a 6mile fell run race, a half marathon through the High Peak, and a final 7 mile road race!
- Spartan Race – 25th June
With over 20 obstacles to contend with at Old Trafford, this Spartan Sprint is 5km of gruelling endurance and loads of fun.
- The Adrenaline Rush – 6th August
Featuring mud crawls, giant slides and leaps of faith onto airbags, this 5k and 10k obstacle course around Heaton Park is a great workout and a huge amount of fun.
- Gauntlet Games – 3rd September
Another Heaton Park event, the Gauntlet Games is a gladiator style 5k or 10k obstacle course, with the added challenge of distractions and attacks from gladiators waiting for you at various stages!
- Tough Mudder – 10/11th September
The North West leg of this popular event at Cholmondeley Estate in Cheshire, expect 16-20k, more than 20 obstacles, a lot of mud and water, and a challenging event. A shorter ‘half’ version is also running on the 11th.
- Born Survivor – 24th September
The ultimate military obstacle course design by Royal Marine commandos, this 10k event at Capesthorne Hall features over 30 insane obstacles to conquer and is rated as extremely fierce.
- Bear Grylls Survival Race – 24th September
Everyone’s favourite survivor now sponsors his own ultimate obstacle course to bring out your inner warrior, with a host of challenges at Tatton Park in a 5k or 10k survival race.
Don’t see your favourite event? Let us know, and we’ll add it to the list.
Need help training for a 10k, marathon or epic obstacle course? Any of our personal trainers can help you plan a training programme to ensure you’re at your physical peak when race day arrives.