The London Marathon is one of the best running events in the world, and about as enjoyable an experience as you can have while running 26.6 miles. However, the process of getting into it is not so fun, because unless you’re unusually fast you have to take your chances with hundreds of thousands of other runners in the London Marathon ballot. Or get a charity place and commit to raise a serious amount of money, which is a tough, if rewarding, way to go.
If you were inspired by the thousands of runners who did get to tackle the London Marathon this year and have designs on running a marathon next spring, then it’s worth remembering that London is not the only show in town.
The Manchester Marathon takes place a week before the London Marathon in April 2023, and it’s an absolute belter of an event. Not only is it the UK’s second-largest marathon, it’s the fourth-biggest in Europe. It has a flat and fast course, and you could make an argument that it’s even more PB-friendly than London’s route.
Best of all, you can secure entry to the Manchester Marathon right now. No ballots, no fuss, just pay your entry fee and start planning your marathon training ahead of race day on Sunday 16th April 2023. If you enter before 11.59pm on 5th October it costs £59, with the price rising to £79 afterwards.
Both the London Marathon and Manchester Marathon are city events with fast road routes and excellent support, but if you fancy something completely different for a marathon next spring then check out Run The Wild’s Chilterns Trail Marathon, a guided event around one of the UK’s most scenic spots on Saturday 1st April.
If you do still want to try your luck with the London Marathon ballot, it’s open now until 7th October. The race takes place on 23rd April 2023, a return to London’s traditional spring date after being moved to the autumn the past couple of years.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.