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Racing for Life in the UK



Running is a great way to keep fit. Each year more people take it up as a hobby and as part of their fitness regime. It is a ‘marmite’ sport though; you either love it or hate it. No matter how addicted you are, it is important to keep setting personal goals to work and train towards. These goals will keep you focused and stop the boredom setting in.

I have taken part in various runs: from 5ks, to half marathons to marathons and my biggest piece of advice is to vary the location. The time will go a lot faster when you don’t know what is around the corner, and there is new scenery to keep you occupied. There are lots of running events in cities and towns across UK. Taking part in runs throughout the UK is a great way to see a new city.

When selecting your next (or first) run, consider the following tips and aspects.

Level of Running.


Whatever level you are running at, it’s a great achievement so sign up with what you are comfortable with. Many running festivals have a range of events on the one day to cater for various levels of runners. The larger organized events tend to be good for this offering 5ks and 10ks as well as half marathons and the full marathons.

The Course


Do your homework and look at the course first – is it flat or hilly? Most running event websites will give you a graph to show the gradient. Unless you are looking for a more challenging run, it is likely that you will prefer the flatter running routes.

Race or Experience?


Do you just want to take part in a race or are you looking for the full event? More and more races now have become weekends, particularly the marathons; pasta parties the night before, and a mini feast and entertainment at the finish. Travelling to take part in events, be it across the UK or abroad, are becoming more and more popular as well as runners seek new challenges (and look to fit in a city breakas well!).

Entertainment


Increasingly more runs are putting on entertainment along the route to keep the runners entertained and motivated. Though the price of these runs tends to be more expensive, it is a great touch to add to the atmosphere and motivation.

Price/Sponsorship


If you plan far enough in advance, you should be able to pay a set price to take part in the run. If you leave it a little late though, you may still be able to enter but will be asked to run for charity. You may already want to run for charity, which is great. It is important to speak to that charity prior to signing up though, as some will ask for a minimum amount of money to be raised.

Event Organisation


A well-organised event will make all the difference. The little things you take for granted such as regular water stations and toilets may not necessarily be available. Look at the website in detail beforehand to make sure all this information is there and you are happy with it. Bupa Running is a highly detailed and organized series of events and so is recommended.

Accommodation


If you are travelling away from home, look ahead of time at bed and breakfasts and hotels for a good deal. Runs such as The Great Manchester Run, and the Great North Run are very popular and this means that hotels can be booked out quickly on those weekends. I did the Great Manchester Run last year and found a great cheap hotel in Manchester city centre, which was close to the start line.

Finally, I would always recommend running with a friend on race day. It is great to sign up to an event together. The whole experience, both training and on the day, is so much more fun and talking takes your mind off of the running! In addition, you will be more motivated to keep up with the training and less likely to slip, as you won’t want to let your friend down!

This Guest Post was written by: Shaiya Ong