Like this? Then try three more fan­tas­tic pre-lon­don tune-ups

Runner's World (UK) - - Race -

READ­ING HALF MARATHON Over the last 34 years this half has al­most quadru­pled in size, and it was pretty big to start with. Five thou­sand run­ners toed the first start line in 1983 and this year the or­gan­is­ers are ex­pect­ing en­tries to top out at 19,500. We strongly sug­gest you try to be among them: the course has been tweaked this year to make it even quicker so, the odd short un­du­la­tion aside, it’s a very flat route that takes you through the beau­ti­ful grounds of Read­ing Univer­sity, around the town cen­tre (where crowds gather) and fin­ishes in front of 15,000 peo­ple in the Made­jski Sta­dium. Berk­shire, March 19, read­ing­half­marathon.com RUN FAL­MOUTH This half marathon is a niche event with a small-to-mid­dling field ( just un­der 600 run­ners took part last year) but if you live in the south­west it’s well worth con­sid­er­ing. The route is lovely, in­clud­ing as it does plenty of both coastal and coun­try­side views. Start­ing near Pen­den­nis Cas­tle, the route also takes in vis­tas of Gyl­lyn­g­vase, Swan­pool and Maen­porth beaches, be­fore head­ing in­land and pass­ing through the vil­lage of Maw­nan Smith. The all-road course fea­tures a mix of long flat stretches, where you can push the pace, and sharp climbs to chal­lenge your ham­strings. Corn­wall, March 12, corn­wall­hos­pice­care.co.uk WILM­SLOW HALF MARATHON If you’re af­ter bands and gi­ant foam fingers, a cheer­ing throng and the gen­eral sound and fury of a mass-par­tic­i­pa­tion race, this is not for you. It sits con­fi­dently in the UK race scene’s mid­dle ground – hitting that sweet spot of hav­ing the feel of a lov­ingly or­gan­ised lo­cal race that at­tracts a large, buzzy field; in this case, 5,000 run­ners who know the lack of any kind of ker­fuf­fle out on the Wilm­slow course means they can get on with the se­ri­ous busi­ness of putting on the af­ter­burn­ers and bat­ter­ing their legs on the flat coun­try roads of ru­ral Cheshire. Cheshire, March 19, wilm­slowhalf­marathon.org.uk

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