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10 best races for 2010 (part 2)

December 28, 2009

Following on from the first part in this series, these are my nominations for the 10 best races of 2010. These races are largely within easy driving distance of Oxfordshire, and have been chosen based on my entirely subjective criteria – that they are either fast, fun, outstandingly scenic, or carry a real feeling of being an ‘event’. If you think any are missing, let me know.

  • Cheltenham Challenge Circular – 20 June 2010

This course is split over four sections, giving runners the option to complete one or more of the four ‘challenges’. These each have a different feel and character, and the race boasts some particularly scenic stretches through picturesque villages.

Entry forms will be available from 20 March 2010.

  • Race the Train – 21 August 2010

A roughly 14-mile race alongside the Talylln Railway across variable terrain, run like any other race, but with the objective of beating the train. Cutting through private land, up sheep trails, over some fairly steep climbs, this is an event race rather than your typical club fayre.

It’s a fairly well-known race, with TV coverage and 959 finishers last year, so expect it to fill up fast.

  • Cardiff Half Marathon – 17 October 2010

Fast and flat, and snaking through the centre of Cardiff, this is a very popular half marathon that has sold out well in advance of race day for the past couple of years. It’s a big ‘event’ half marathon – so the start is more likely to be rammed – but still retains a reputation for speed. Catch it before it gets too big…

  • Burnham Beeches 10k – 23 October 2010

In 2009, I ran the Burnham Beeches Half Marathon, which was a very picturesque two-lap race through some challenging woodland. The 10k, organised by the Rotary Club, takes a different course through the woods. Expect fantastic woodland scenery, tough climbs, probably a bit of mud and a more challenging 10k course than usual. (With a men’s course record of 36:04 and the third male place in 2009 clocking in at 40:07, expect this to be tough.)

  • Rotary Blenheim 10k – TBC October 2010

October’s a busy month in the racing calendar… The historic Blenheim Palace in Woodstock makes a stunning (mostly) traffic-free location for a tough and scenic 10k. In 2009 I was unable to enter this race, because I was away, and instead went in for the Cancer Research Run 10k race. Without wanting to do down the sterling work of Cancer Research, it was a bit of a mistake as it was a fun run with no published results.

The Rotary Blenheim run features a tough climb between kilometers 5 and 6 and, barring between kilometers 8 and 9 is over good roads.

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