21 Of The Best UK & Irish Half Marathons - The Running Channel Advertisement

21 Of The Best UK & Irish Half Marathons

BY: Mark Dredge
20 May 2024

Do you want to sign up to a road half marathon in the UK or Ireland? Whether you’re aiming to run a fast time, looking for your next running challenge, or want to race a half as practice for a spring or autumn marathon, these are some of the best British and Irish half marathons to consider. 

Brighton Half Marathon
Where & When: Brighton. 2 March 2025
Up and down along the seafront, with a little loop around the town, the speediness of this race depends on the weather: get lucky with sunshine and no wind and you can go fast, but if you’re hit with a driving wind off the sea then brace yourself against the elements and forget that PB. It’s a popular half with a lot of support on course and a loud finish line.

Inverness Half Marathon
Where & When: Inverness. 9 March 2025
A great spring half for those looking for a challenge early in the year. As a sort-of lollipop course, the first three miles and final three miles are the same road, so plenty of chance for supporters to see you as you run along the River Ness. It ends with a speedy running track finish.

Cambridge Half Marathon
Where & When: Cambridge. TBC March 2025
An ideal race for those who want a race leading in to spring marathons. It’s flat and fast, with well-supported sections through the city, plus some quieter country roads to focus on your pace. It’s a good choice for those chasing a PB.

The London Landmarks Half Marathon
Where & When: London. 6 April 2025
More scenic than speedy, this route winds all around the centre of London, passing sights like St Paul’s, Monument, the Tower of London, the London Eye, on a sightseeing tour of the capital. With a few faster miles along the Thames to finish you get the London Marathon experience a few weeks ahead of April’s race.

Newport Half Marathon
Where & When: Newport. 13 April 2025
As part of the Newport Marathon Festival, there are races over 10K, 21.1K and 42.2K, and all have good PB potential on a fast and very flat course. It’s a well organised race with good support, and having three races on together makes for a fun atmosphere for all runners.

Great Birmingham Run
Where & When: 4 May 2025
The biggest half marathon in the Midlands, almost half of the race is in the city, and the rest heads out and back on wide closed roads. It’s got some nice downhills, but there’s also a couple of bigger uphills to test the legs, but nothing too challenging. There’s a 10K option as well, and both races are ideal for beginners. The finish area is busy and buzzing with people. 

Leeds Half Marathon
Where & When: Leeds. 11 May 2025
Starting in Headingley, this isn’t necessarily a race for PB chasers given the hilly course, but it’s a great event with a large charity and community focus. There’s also a marathon on the same day and 10,000 runners take part between the two races. 

Hackney Half Marathon
Where & When: London. 18 May 2025 
A big running festival around Hackney, over 20,000 runners take part in this great race on a fairly fast course. It’s a big party atmosphere and energy all the way around, so this is a good choice for everyone from first-timers to sub-elites. It’s a great example of how a running race can feel like a music festival. 

Bristol Half Marathon
Where & When: Bristol. 18 May 2025
A tour of the vibrant city, the Bristol Half runs alongside the River Avon before winding around the city streets with a lot of crowd support. It’s a good race for all levels of runners with a great finish in Millennium Square. 

Scottish Half Marathon
Where & When: Edinburgh. 18 August 2024
Running east of Edinburgh, this net-downhill course is a fast route and works well for all runners. It’s a scenic run past the coast and golf courses, finishing at Scotland’s oldest racecourse. And with an 11am start, runners don’t need to jump out of bed too early!

The Black Arch on the Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Antrim Coast Half Marathon
Where & When: Larne. 25 August 2024
One of the fastest half marathons in the UK, and Northern Ireland’s premier half, this race attracts an elite field alongside thousands of amateurs. It’s a flat route, mostly run along the beautiful Antrim Coast Road with spectacular views, heading back to a lively finish area in town. Organisers put on a bus to and from Belfast for runners.

The Big Half
Where & When: London. 1 September 2024
Organised by London Marathon Events, and run on much of the London Marathon route just in reverse, this fast half begins north of Tower Bridge before heading to Canary Wharf, then back over Tower Bridge (north to south unlike on marathon day) and to a brilliant finish next to Cutty Sark. It’s a good race for those looking for a large race experience or as a warm up before an autumn marathon. 

Dingle Half Marathon
Where & When: Dingle. 7 September 2024
Possibly the most beautiful run on this list, the Dingle Half Marathon (there’s also a full marathon distance) is a spectacular route along the undulating Wild Atlantic Way with sweeping views of the ocean and rugged coastline. The half ends outside a pub, so you can grab a quick drink before taking a complimentary bus back to the start area. One for those looking to travel for a race experience.

Great North Run
Where & When: Newcastle. 8 September 2024 
With 60,000 runners, this is the biggest half marathon in the world. It begins in Newcastle with an iconic run over the Tyne Bridge, then you head to a loud finish line in South Shields. Some of the middle miles of the run can be a bit quiet, but the start and finish more than make up for that. 

Belfast Half Marathon
Where & When: Belfast. 22 September 2024
Taking place on the same day as the Belfast Marathon, the half runs through the middle of town before both races finish in Ormeau Park and everyone can celebrate their achievements together. It’s the biggest half in Northern Ireland.

Dublin Half Marathon
Where & When: Dublin. 22 September 2024
Completely run inside Phoenix Park on the wide paths, this is a leafy green half marathon with one big loop of the park, then a smaller one. It’s undulating but not hilly, and there’s a good race atmosphere on the course. 

Windsor Half Marathon 
Where & When: Windsor. 29 September 2024
This run begins and ends on The Long Walk, with Windsor Castle not too far away. It’s all on paths around Windsor Great Park, and is quite hilly, so this is one for runners looking to enjoy the views and a chance to run around this park, rather than those chasing fast finish times. 

Cardiff Half Marathon
Where & When: Cardiff. 6 October 2024
One of the Superhalf races, the Cardiff Half begins by Cardiff Castle, heading to the Penarth Marina, crossing Cardiff Bay Barrage, then back through the town with a lot of cheering supporters. It’s a well-organised race and a great route.

Oxford Half Marathon
Where & When: Oxford. 13 October 2024
Flat and fast, with a lot of runners, the route begins right in the centre of Oxford, running out on closed roads and around parks, before ending back in the city past landmarks and handsome university buildings. There’s a good atmosphere throughout the race, and a large race village at the end. 

Manchester Half Marathon 
Where & When: Manchester. 13 October 2024
With the same organisers as the Manchester Marathon, this loud run has lots of DJs and cheer stations on the course to support the 16,000 runners. The race heads into the city centre before heading south and looping back to finish near Old Trafford football stadium. It’s ideal for all levels of runners. 

Alton Towers Half Marathon
Where & When: Alton Towers. 17 November 2024 
This is a half marathon at Alton Towers, the UK’s largest theme park! You get to run past all the rides and then once you’ve finished the race you can go on all the rides, as entry into the race includes entry in the theme park, which makes it one of the most fun run experiences in the UK. 

Do you have any favourite UK or Irish half marathons? 

Lead image from Great North Run

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