After half marathon heaven for fans of the 13.1 mile distance challenge last weekend with huge events at Bath, London and Woking drawing 25,000 runners to the main races and supporting runs, it is back to a smorgasbord of distances and surfaces in the South region racing calendar this weekend (18/19 March).
The New Forest Running Festival on Saturday and Sunday encapsulates the essence of variety. Based at Red Shoot Camping Park, Linwood in the heart of the National Park, this is a back to nature seven race, two-day event that has grown in popularity and is now in its sixth year.
The full range of events includes 75k and 50k ultras; 20 miles; 10 miles; 10ks and a women's only 10k plus the ever popular half marathon is not forgotten. All courses are on undulating, multi-terrain routes with a minimum amount of road running. Race promoters RG Active are experienced running, triathlon and open water swimming organisers.
Elsewhere there is a contest going on to find the most attractive sounding 10k race between Saturday's Richmond Spring Riverside 10K at Ham and Sunday's events at Old Deer Park, Richmond; Weymouth Bay; Canterbury Riverside; Dymchurch Sea Wall and Dorney Lake, Windsor.
Tradition will be maintained at the Brooks Fleet Pre-London Half Marathon on Sunday. This race has a history going back to 1982 when the inaugural event was given special permission by Chris Brasher (founder of the London Marathon) to be titled: “The Pre-London”.
Some 36 years later the key principles remain at an event that is organised by runners for runners and was a founding member of the British Association of Road Races. The host club, Fleet & Crookham AC, still ensures today that substantial donations are made to Bloodwise and the Fleet Pond Society, helping to support the natural environment in Fleet.