The Best UK Half Marathons For 2024: When And How To Bag A Place

Runners in the Hackney Half Marathon
Runners in the Hackney Half Marathon (Image credit: LimeLight Sports Club)

The UK plays host to some of the biggest and best half marathons in the world, and you’ll be sure to find whatever kind of event you’re looking for. Whether you’re just starting half marathon training and are lining up an end goal, or are plowing through marathon training and looking for a half to do as part of that, we’ve picked out an array of excellent UK half marathons for you.

The Best UK Half Marathons 2024

Cambridge Half Marathon

Next event: March 3, 2024

This is one of the most popular half marathons in the UK, evidenced by the fact it always sells out months in advance, but you can still run for charity in 2024. The Cambridge Half Marathon has a fast course and is the ideal tune-up race ahead of a spring marathon. For 2024 the route has been tweaked to visit two additional Cambridge University colleges, which join other landmarks like the Bridge of Sighs and the Wren Library on the course.

Run for charity

London Landmarks Half Marathon

Next event: April 7, 2024

As you’d expect from the name, the route of this half marathon is littered with the capital’s top sights. Runners start on Pall Mall, finish on Downing Street and pass pretty much every notable building in central London in between. The route has a lot of twists and turns but it’s still reasonably flat and fast if you’re trying for a PR, although this is an event where it’s worth focusing on enjoying the atmosphere and raising money for a good cause. The ballot for the 2024 event has been and gone, but you can still run for charity. 

Run for charity | London Landmarks Half Marathon event guide

Reading Half Marathon

Next event: April 14, 2024

In 2024 the Reading Half Marathon is right in the heart of spring marathon season, so if you have no intention of running 26.2 miles but want to get involved at a time when everyone else is racing and your social media is laden with medals, it’s the perfect option. The course has a couple of lumps and bumps but is fast enough for PRs, and it finishes in Reading FC’s stadium where a big crowd will be waiting to cheer you home.

Sign up | £47

Hackney Half Marathon

Next event: May 19, 2024

There’s a whole lot more than a half marathon going on at this event in east London, with a festival of fitness that spans the weekend. The running starts with 5K on Saturday, and then there’s the small matter of the Hackney Half on Sunday morning. The race has a route that winds through the borough, including the Olympic Park, as well as one of the best atmospheres of any race in the capital with supporters coming out in numbers in all conditions. Alongside the running you can get involved in fitness classes at the festival, which goes well beyond the usual runner’s village at the start/finish area. General entries are now sold out but you can still run for charity.

Run for charity | £59

Great Manchester Run

Next event: May 26, 2024

There are entertainment zones every kilometer along the route of this half marathon, which starts and finishes in central Manchester, and visits the grounds of both United and City as well as Salford Quays. The entertainment includes music and cheer buses, and large crowds of organized support and locals line the route to cheer you on your way.

Sign up | £46-49

Edinburgh Half Marathon

Next event: May 28, 2023

It’s not always advisable to look at the elevation profile of a race, because you might find the ups scare you more than the downs delight you, but it’s definitely worth checking out the graph for the Edinburgh Half Marathon before you run it. That’s because the elevation line dives almost 90m as you head from the city center to the coast over the course of the race. Almost all of that downhill is in the first five miles of the event, so you can enjoy a fast start and a shot at a big PR on the day.

Sign up | £42.25

Race The Train Tywyn

Next event: August 17, 2024

This race on the north Wales coast is actually 14 miles, so a little longer than a half marathon, but we’ll hope you forgive us because it’s a unique event that’s well worth flagging up. Participants in the main Rotary Challenge event race a steam train on an out-and-back course alongside the Talyllyn Railway—the train takes around 1hr 47min to complete the route. The course is a mix of road and trails, and it can get very muddy in the hilly second half, so you need to be well ahead of the train at the halfway point to bring home the win.

Sign up | £38

Scottish Half Marathon

Next event: August 18, 2024

The route of the Scottish Half Marathon runs along the coast of East Lothian, just outside Edinburgh, and finishes at Musselburgh racecourse, which has been holding horse-racing events since 1816. PR-hunters will be pleased to learn that the course is a very fast one, with runners heading downhill for the most part in the first three miles before settling into the flat along the coast.

Sign up | £43.75

The Big Half

The Big Half

(Image credit: The Big Half)

Next event: September 1, 2024

It launched as a spring event, but in 2021 The Big Half moved to a late summer date and the organizers have opted to stick with that berth since then. The course starts at Tower Bridge and finishes in Greenwich, following a similar route to the first half of the London Marathon, and organizers make an effort to involve runners from the four boroughs it passes through—Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Greenwich—with discounted entry for residents.

Sign up | £56 | The Big Half guide

Great North Run

The Great North Run

Runners in the Great North Run after crossing the Tyne Bridge (Image credit: Unknown)

Next event: September 8, 2024

The world’s biggest half marathon is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the UK running calendar, and if you want to be on the start line in 2024 you’ll need to enter the ballot for the race when it opens. You can sign up to be notified when that happens, but it will probably be in January. The route starts in central Newcastle and runners head out to the coast to finish in South Shields, with incredible support lining the course to roar you on.

Sign up to be notified about the ballot 

Ealing Half Marathon

Next event: September 29, 2024

This popular event takes runners on a tour of west London, starting and finishing in Lammas Park and visiting many green spots in between. The route has a lot of twists and turns and some considerable bumps as well, so it’s not the flat-out fastest option to choose, but the Ealing Half Marathon always offers runners a great atmosphere and consistently earns rave reviews from participants.

Sign up | £42.11 early bird

Cardiff Half Marathon

Cardiff Half Marathon

(Image credit: Cardiff Half Marathon)

Next event: October 6, 2024

Runners seeking a cracking atmosphere and a PR-friendly course should head to Wales’s capital for one of the biggest races in the autumn calendar. Early bird entries sold out within three hours, and the rest of the places will go well before the event in October, so don’t delay in signing up if you fancy running this one.

Sign up | £48

Oxford Half Marathon 

Oxford Half Marathon

(Image credit: Oxford Half Marathon)

Next event: October 13, 2024

This autumn half marathon has a scenic route that takes in Oxford’s historic city center and the charming village of Old Marston, though if you prefer to get your head down and race it’s also a quick enough course to log a PR. A ballot for the race will open later in the year, but you can bypass that by grabbing an early bird entry now.

Early bird sign up | £45 early bird

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

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.