Beat those ballot blues by checking out our list of other spring marathons to consider

With another record total of 457,861 applicants having registered for a place to take on the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2020, hundreds of thousands of runners will be left reconsidering their spring marathon plans when ballot results drop this week.

If you’re among them and you haven’t secured a spot this time, don’t panic! There’s a world of marathons out there and here we highlight some of the alternatives.

Determined that 2020 will be your year to run London? This doesn’t have to be the end of the road. A number of charities have places available and you can find some of them listed here.

Whatever your next running challenge, be sure to check out the marathon guide to be included with the October 31 edition of AW magazine to help you on your journey.

Sussex Coastal Marathon

When? March 14
Where? Birling Gap, England

If you’re open to swapping London’s streets for a rugged coastline then this Sussex event could be an option as runners take on an undulating route which shoulders the coastal towns of Eastbourne and Seaford.

Zurich Marató de Barcelona

When? March 15
Where? Barcelona, Spain

Described by organisers as “one of the most attractive courses in Europe for its flat and fast circuit”, this event offers a great sightseeing opportunity as the course passes impressive landmarks such as the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló.


When? March 22
Where? Limassol, Cyprus

A trip to Limassol offers runners the chance to combine marathon running with a break overseas. The race programme also features a half-marathon, 10km and 5km, with the events taking advantage of Limassol’s flat roads along the coastline, which offer magnificent views across the Mediterranean.

Run Rome The Marathon

When? March 29
Where? Rome, Italy

If you’re looking to use your race weekend as an opportunity to discover a new city then ‘Run Rome The Marathon’ could be a great choice. Recently the Italian athletics federation (FIDAL) approved a regulation allowing international runners to register for races without a medical certificate, making it even easier for you to get involved.


When? April 5
Where? Paris, France

If you’re still after a big city marathon, then how about swapping the streets of London for the roads of Paris? The event in the French capital takes runners past spectacular scenes and landmarks including the Arc de Triomphe, Bois de Vincennes, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower.

Manchester Marathon

When? April 5
Where? Manchester, England

Part of the route for the 2020 event will, for the first time, head into the centre of Manchester, showcasing some of the city’s most iconic landmarks including the Manchester Opera House, Spinningfields, Albert Memorial Hall and The Midland Hotel.


When? April 19
Where? Brighton, England

Photo by Mark Shearman

This seaside event in one of the country’s most vibrant cities continues to grow in popularity, with the course winding through the city streets and finishing up on the Brighton seafront. General entries are set to reopen soon and runners will need to register interest here by October 20.


When? April 19
Where? Newport, Wales

The event, which boasts ‘a fast, scenic route’, starts and finishes on Newport’s riverfront and the course takes in iconic landmarks, coastal wildlife and picturesque medieval villages. Organisers claim that over 70% of all finishers have claimed a PB at the event.

Boston Marathon UK

When? April 19
Where? Lincolnshire, England

The other Boston Marathon offers a flat road route in Lincolnshire, rather than Massachusetts, with the event starting at Boston Market Place and ending at Boston College.

Zürich Marathon

When? April 26
Where? Zürich, Switzerland

Taking place on the same day as the London Marathon, the 26.2-mile route takes runners through the city and along Lake Zurich, with a 10km and team event also on offer.


When? April 26
Where? Southampton, England

Another event which takes place on the same day as London, with the course passing iconic landmarks including Bargate, QE2 Anchor and St Mary’s Stadium as well as the ascent – and more popularly, the descent – over the Itchen bridge.


When? April 26
Where? Blackpool, England

Forming part of a festival of running, the full 26.2-mile event takes place alongside a half-marathon, 10km, 5km and 2km. The flat two-lap marathon course has been designed for PB chasers and takes in Blackpool’s promenade, passing a number of landmarks and tourist spots.

Shakespeare Marathon

When? April 26
Where? Stratford-upon-Avon, England

This event offers runners the chance to run among some of the most historical buildings in the the country and through miles of beautiful Warwickshire countryside, with the route starting in the centre of the town, opposite Shakespeare’s old school.


When? May 3
Where? Belfast, Northern Ireland

Photo by Mal McCausland

The 2019 event took place on a new ‘flatter, faster marathon route’, encompassing North, East, South and West of the city, and it is on that course which the event returns for 2020. Starting in the grounds of the iconic Stormont Estate, the event finishes at Ormeau Park, while there is also an eight-mile walk and fun run on offer.

Rightmove MK Marathon

When? May 3
Where? Milton Keynes, England

Much of the route is green and scenic, taking in parks and lakes, picturesque villages and the canal towpath and starting at the Stadium MK.

Three Forts Marathon

When? May 3
Where? West Sussex, England

If you’re looking for a slightly different challenge then this approximately 27.2-mile course includes 3450ft of climb, with stiles and rough tracks underfoot.

Volkswagen Prague Marathon

When? May 3
Where? Prague, Czech Republic

Starting and finishing in historical Old Town Square, the course takes runners through the streets of the city. Founded in 1995 and forming part of the RunCzech series, the event has gone on to gain IAAF Gold Label status.

ASICS Windermere Marathon

When? May 17
Where? Lake District, England

Run entirely within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the event finishes in the grounds of Brathay Hall with views over England’s largest lake.

Exeter Live Better Marathon

When? May 17
Where? Exeter, England

The route takes runner past the River Exe historical Quayside and along the footpaths and cycle tracks of the River Exe and Ship Canal.

Edinburgh Marathon

When? May 24
Where? Edinburgh, Scotland

The route takes in some of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks and offers picturesque views along the East Lothian coastline, with the event offering guaranteed entry for unsuccessful London Marathon applicants.


If you’re still keen to target a running challenge in the UK capital, a spring marathon could form part of your journey towards taking on something even longer as the inaugural ULTRA LONDON took place on October 5 and is set to return in 2020, offering 125km, 55km and 27.5km routes. Click here to find out more.

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