Afternoon / Evening Marathon

The current thinking in the UK is that all marathons should start at 9/10 in the morning. For me that always seems such a pain if you have to do any travelling, and even if you don't, it still makes for a very early morning which isn't natural for me.

Am I the only one that thinks it would nice to rock up to a marathon late morning after a decent night's sleep and run during the afternoon or even into the early evening?

I don't mind being the only one that thinks that, but I'd be interested to know if I'm alone.


  • You just missed the Midnight Mountain Marathon Inchers. 5:30 pm start image


    Afternoon starts can be tough, as this is often the hottest point of the day, and logistically having runners out in the dark for more than an hour or two is a big risk to assess - elf and safety and all that...

  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    It would suit me better too.  But too many practicalities mean it's not going to happen too often.  Another one is, if there any road closures, you really want them done and dusted.   If you start at 11, you'd have to close the roads early  but not reopen them til late.

  • I guess theres a few reasons ?

    1. Sunday morning traffic is light compared to afternoon - so less disruption

    2. Temperatures are higher in the afternoon

    3. Traditional

    4. I'd think a lot of runners run first thing anyway - so it makes sense to race

    5. Its possible to run a morning marathon and then still be able to do stuff after.

    6. I'm not sure i'd fancy a marathon after lunch.

    There is an afternoon half marathon in Freckleton - I think that's been afternoon for 49 years now due to the church services they have in the morning ? Its a lovely race but tricky to prepare for.
  • Stratford is a nightmare with a lunchtime start 

  • Sounds like a nice idea in theory but there are  a few things that spring immediately to mind:

    1. Road closures. Unless a marathon is completely off-road there would have to be road closures. These would be less convenient to apply in the middle of the day or the afternoon. 

    2. It would depend on the cut-off. If you had a marathon with no cut-off time, you could, potentially, have runners with the opposite problem, i.e. not being able to get home afterwards.

    3. Generally the later it gets, the hotter it gets. This could cause problems for some runners. And if you ran in the winter you would end up running in the dark. 

    Also, a small point but if late morning is, say, 11am why is 10am such a problem?

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    The earlier it is the more time you get in the pub afterwards.
  • I guess it would suit some people, but not the majority.  Agree that the logistics of it would prove problematic.

    The deal breaker for me would be that I would rather do it in the morning and have it over with. For instance, we did the Marwell Zoo 10K earlier this year.  After the race, we had a quick look round the zoo, then went to Winchester for lunch, etc.  It becomes part of the day, but it's not the same if you have the race hanging over you.

  • It suits me, I much prefer racing in the evening! 

    I always feel like I haven't quite woken up in an early race, yet been up for hours. 

    Like others have said though, the practicalities of it out weigh the other.

  • It's interesting really because as a runner I certainly prefer starting later, but as a current race director understand the logistics entirely (our race starts at 9am) of trying to start later.

    However, working for a rural local authority I reckon I can do a two lap course from a great venue on some pretty small roads that won't matter much if they are closed for an afternoon and am trying to establish if there is a market for such a race.

    Having chatted about with a few fellow runners I think the majority of people would prefer a morning run, but if 20% of people prefer the afternoon then maybe it is worthwhile. What we don't know is whether enough people would like an afternoon race.

    I am thinking a 1pm start with a six hour cut-off at the end of September when hopefully it won't be too warm and we'll still have enough light.

  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭


    I definitely prefer running in the afternoon/evenings.  And if you did a market survey, a 1pm start would get a big tick from me. But you have to do your market research carefully.  Because, when push comes to shove, as enthusiastic as I might be for the idea, there are several factors that are more important.  Like venue, convenience of date, course layout, scenery, quality marshalling/drinks stations etc.  I really can't think that a 10am or 1pm start is likely to be make-or-break for the decision.

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