Recommendations for my first marathon

I've been talking about doing a marathon for a while now, and next year will be the year to do it!  I'm not fast, my last HM time was 2:37, but am hoping to get round in under 5 hours with some help from my running club coaches.  The problem is, which one should I do?  I live near Norwich in Norfolk and don't want to travel to the other end of the country to do it and I really need one that isn't really hilly as I don't have any hills here to train on.

I've entered the VLM ballot, but as the chances are miniscule for getting in I thought it best to scout about and see what else is out there.  I know there is one at Bungay, but I've been told by someone who's done it (and read on here) that it has some tough hills in it image  They've also brought in a time restriction this year and that concerns me a bit; don't want to be a mile or so away from the finish line and get pulled.

Does anyone have any suggestions that would be local to me?  Or, is it possible for a slow plodder who's not used to hills to be fit enough to do the Bungay marathon by the time it arrives?   I'm not planning on repeating the distance again, so I'd like to do a nice one! image


  • Halstead in Essex is an absoulte fav of mine, usually early May and the course is amazing,
  • Ditto above and you'll also have a good 20 miler in your area to do before Wymondham.
  • Thanks for that.  The Wymondham one is run by my club, so I'm sure the coaches will be expecting to see me do that one! image
  • My stock answer for a good marathon is Amsterdam in October - flat and well organised and easy to get to, no ballot and they have pacers
  • musketeer wrote (see)
    My stock answer for a good marathon is Amsterdam in October - flat and well organised and easy to get to, no ballot and they have pacers

    Well that would certainly be flat!  Totally out of my budget in the current financial climate though image

    I had a look at the Halstead one, and from the profile thingy they've posted of the course it looks really hilly; even hillier than the Bungay one.  Guess I'll either have to keep looking image

  • Isnt there a Cambridge Boundary marathon? Although the distance varies slightly year to year and its multi terrain...
  • Ah, just found that, after a bit of searching!  Not really sure I'm ready for a multi-terrain marathon though, I've not really done any off road running and I think I may have enough on my plate just getting up to distance image   Thanks though image
  • And I was going to suggest, take a weekend trip to Berlin and run the marathon. It's the best I've ever run, by far!
  • It doesn't matter now really, I got into VLM on the ballot so I'll be doing that one!!  image
  • Thankyou TST for the info about a time limit for Bungay. I was hoping to do that next April if my Norwich half goes well next month.

    Its a 2 lap course for the full marathon. I know that as I used to live near Beccles although I am now Norwich based.
    The first half of each lap is from Bungay to Beccles and that is where the hills are near Barsham. When you get past Beccles the return route to Bungay is north of the river waveney and is pretty flat. The lap is then repeated for those who want the full marathon.
    Do you know what the time limit is?
  • From memory I think the cut offs were 2:30 for the first lap and 5:00 to finish.  It tells you on their site somewhere in the marathon information though. 
  • I'm thinking of doing the Edinburgh marathon as my first. It is downhill which should make things easier....
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