Recommendations for where to run my first marathon?

Hi! I'm looking to run my first marathon in the next year or so and was wondering which one's are good fun for a newbie?! I've ran a few halfs and think it's time to suck it up and do a full! So what month should I aim for in terms of training and anyone got any fave races?! Thanks!! Nikki


  • they are all the same distanceimage  And you are gauranteed a PB.  Why not pick a local one and enjoy the race and the easy logisitics.

    Good luck

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    I would reccomend what PSC says above. No point going for London as if you enter the ballot you might not get in for years. If you go the charity route this will take up a large amount of your training time and also add to any pressure to either perform or raise the money. There are loads of local ones about.
  • Robin Hood (Nottingham) is my favorite so far - and in September so you would have over 12 months prep. If I was you choose one which is flat (ish) - at mile 17,18, hills are not what you want to see...


  • I'm doing my first at Liverpool in October, before booking i researched it & it came down to nottingham, mablethorpe or liverpool with liverpool having more interesting surroundings. Good luck if your ready earlier than next autumn maybe Manchester in the spring. Richie

  • I'm doing Sussex Marathon next April and is my first. I did the half this year. Its hilly, but you dont feel it, and is all pavement. The organisation is brilliant, and is one of those smaller ones that dont get noticed so much, but is truly a gem of a race. The medal is really nice too.

  • I'm interested in doing a marathon in the spring next year - have entered ballot for London but doubt I'll get in. Just looking at Sussex - not a lot of info at present - but it states it's hilly and one of the thoughest marathons!!! Is this true???

  • Jelleybaby wrote (see)

    I'm interested in doing a marathon in the spring next year - have entered ballot for London but doubt I'll get in. Just looking at Sussex - not a lot of info at present - but it states it's hilly and one of the thoughest marathons!!! Is this true???

    Toughest? Wow! I guess it isnt the easiest one, since yes it is quite hilly, and the hill you go down in the first mile, is the same one you climb again for the half, and twice for the full. It tests you, but the combination of down hill, nice scenery, and very good race officials, makes it a good one too. Definitely not the easiest but as soon as i finished the half, i was wanting to do the full one.

  • Edinburgh is officially the uks fastest marathon & i ve heard nothing but good things from people who have done it. I ll be there next year all being well.

  • Does it have to be in the UK?
    To an extent it depends what you like in a race.
    There is something to be said for autumn marathons. You don't get the problem where race day turns out to be 5-10 degrees hotter than any day in the past three months (Edinburgh & London have both suffered this way on more than one occasion). Nor do you lose training due to lots of colds. Nor do you have to train in the dark and cold on icy paths.

    Berlin is easy to enter but has lots of support and is flat. Not as cool as some later races though. Nowadays many big races offer video of runners from the year before, so you can look at that to see what the support and congestion is like.

    Re. UK autumn races - have heard good things of Liverpool. Otherwise off the top of my head can't think of any marathons (in the UK in autumn) where support won't be a bit thin on the ground. Of course if you can cope with that even if everything goes Pete Tong in the last 8 miles you have a much wider choice image



  • Pick something close to you because then the logistics are easier if its local. Its up to you but my mind would be fazed if I arranged a first marathon overseas...then didn't finish it!

    Each to their own but make sure you plan it ahead and build up the miles slowly and most of all enjoy it and have fun. 

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    I waited for years for my london place and as much as i loved it - i wish i had started running marathons years ago! What are you looking for in a marathon? flat course? crowd support? scenery? Perhaps then people can offer suggestions based on that.

    I've ran Thames Meander (august), Medoc (September) and London and have loved all of them for very different reasons. London was all about the crowd, Thames Meander was about the small field and the other runners and Medoc was about the scenery and atmosphere.


  • Barcelona in March is a cracker too.

  • If and it is a big if I go for a Marathon I will pick Edinburgh as heard it is good and is local. My only concern is late May date as I don't do hot!
  • I've done Edinburgh twice. It's my least favourite of all the marathons i've done. Plus points are that it is easy to get to and flat. Negatives are that it's not really in Edinburgh, the route is as dull as you could imagine and what finished me off was the feeling the organisers just wanted your cash.

  • Think things have changed then Keyboard Worrier.

    I really enjoyed Edinburgh, nice course, interesting, good finishing area (changed from last year).

    I would recommend it, very well organised too. MacMillan came on board as sponsors.

    Richard Harrison I did Liverpool last year since its my home town. can recommend it. Sure you will love it. Any tips wanted, shout. Or PM me. Nikki if autumn one, then has great support, so people will keep you going, and finishes at the Liver Building.

    Hey Fido.

    Apart from Liverpool, & Edinburgh. How about Amsterdam?
  • Nothing but good things about Edinburgh?!!! Well, I think they improved this year, but the reviews of 2010 were terrible. Nottighma is no more - just the half now.

    From my personal experience, Brighton is absolutely fantastic: superbly organised, wonderful support. I would also recommend running for the NSPCC: apart from a worthwhile charity, their support round the course, and afterwards (food, drinks and massage) was wonderful. I paid for my own place, and then contacted them, but they do have their own places (though the usual expected money-raising target applies).

  • Amsterdam - October, easy to get to from a lot of UK, well organised, no ballot, flat(!!), a bit quiet on the out of city bit but otherwise well supported

  • Out of all the marathons I've done Edinburgh is the worst of them. I agree with the feeling the organisers just want the cash. Average course with awful organisation. The races I'd recommend to anyone are Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Disney. All very different races, but all great well organised events.

    Paris has the big city event feel to it, an interesting course and based on my experience was very well organised (needs more toilets at the start right enough). It also has a fabulous thread full of great people on this very forum to help you through the training.

    Berlin is a great city. One of the big five marathons if that is something you want to check off. Is the course the world record was set on (they year I ran it, not be me though!!), and the finish heading through the Brandenburg Gate is very special.

    Amsterdam I probably a bit biased about as I do love the city. The flattest course known to man. If you look up flat in the dictionary it refers you to the Amsterdam marathon profile. If you hate hills you'll love Amsterdam. Starting and finishing in the old Olympic stadium and a nice run out and back along the Amstel river. Smaller in size and feel to the big city races, but very much an international runners race.

    Disney marathon in Florida. This was my first in 2007. For a start you can get a holiday out it. image The organisation on this race is second to none. They own the land the race is run on and it shows that they have the free reign to host this the way they want in terms of supporting the runners. It's a marathon with plenty to take your mind off the miles in front of you. Run through all four parks, high five a Pixar character on your way around, great support.

    The truth is what ever race you pick it'll be special to you, no matter if it's a huge event or a small local event. The first time you step over that finish line and collect your medal knowing you completed a marathon is a truly amazing experience. If you're anything like me it'll take weeks to wipe that smile of your face.

  • I would recommend whichever one you pick, don't let it be a small one. For your first marathon, you need a big race with lots of runners around you, there is nothing worse than entering a small country race with a couple of hundred starters and ending up running all alone without seeing anybody in front or behind. That has happened to me in the past and it's much harder to crack on and finish than when you have the support of lots of other runners. I love the atmosphere of a big race with 30,000 plus runners. I've run 45 marathons and my favourite by far is Berlin.

  • I'm in the same boat as you Nikki. I'm hoping to work up to a marathon next year. I have a half planned in a couple of months and then a couple more halfs that I want to do early next year so really it's any time after that. I'm considering Loch Ness in September, just because we usually get up to Scotland once a year for a holiday anyway so that could be included. Trouble is, I'd rather do one a bit earlier than that. Decisions, decisions.

    My overall goal is to do the Endurance Life South Devon CTS Marathon in February of 2014. I decided against that being my first marathon though as it looks as tough as anything and for some reason is actually 28.5 miles (technically an Ultra I reckon!)

    There is a local one I was considering but as Ironwolf above has suggested, I didn't want to do a piddly little one where there were no other runners and no support. My experience of half maras tells me that it's best to have the atmosphere there to help you round.

  • I agree with the earlier responses.  you should run your local marathon.  I would love to run the more glamourous city marathons like london, berlin, rome, paris, new york etc so far i have only done belfast and dublin.  I can think of a million reasons why the belfast marathon would not appeal to people from outside the city.  Its not very scenic, not very well supported and not particularly well organised.  But it is my home town meaning i dont have to fundraise, travel, book accomodation etc.  Best of all though is the support, my club vest is recognised round most of th route, i live around the halfway point so from about miles 12-15 i am constantly being cheered on by friends and family which is great for motivation.

    There will be time for you (and me) to run bigger better marathons but i would stick with the local one as your first.

  • I haven chosen the Beachy Head marathon this October to be my first marathon as it is local to me and whilst it is not as big as some of the city races there are just over 2000 entrants this year, so hopefully, I'll be able to keep some of the in view.

  • You also lose a lot of colds training due. Not in the dark and cold training in the icy path.

  • hi,

    I'm new to this room, and I hear advice being given.

    I running the Manchester MoRun on the 24th November, and that will be my first jog since I stopped running in my early twenties, I'm now 46 and only been training for amonth so far, but I think 10k is about the right first run out.

    As regards Marathons, if I have the money I hope to do the Manchester Marathon, its claim is to be the flatest marathon in the country. Another reason it is my home city, even though I now life in Huddersfield. But more importantly is that if you are not recognised, just knowing the route is a big bonus, perhaps this will help me pace myself somewhat better.

    I hope colds don't come your way, but if they do, I hope you go away quickly. I did myfirst run in the rain today. I was surprised that I enjoyed it, I found it refreshing.

    Enjoy your weekend running.

  • I'm doing my first marathon in April, I chose the Brighton Marathon as I lived there for many years and know the route. I think there's something nice about being able to rally the troops for support as well.

  • I understand the advice re doing a local marathon, but it does depend where you live. My very local marathon (naming no names) looks a bit tinpot to be honest and I think it's the first year. I'd be more than happy to go and support a new event if I was a seasoned marathon runner but I don't think that an event that you know nothing about, with the potential for poor organisation and very small crowds, wouldn't be the best way to start out. If your local marathon is a big, old one, you'd be mad not to pick that but, if you're not going local, you may as well look as far afield as you like (hence Loch Ness for me!)

  • Hi as mentioned on the events forum just entered my 1st marathon, Doing the Manchester Marathon because it is supposed to be the flatest and easiest although as someone mentioned possibly the wettest. Good luck

Sign In or Register to comment.