Discover brilliant 5k runs, 10k runs, half-marathons and marathons in London in 2020.
If you haven’t quite hit your New Year’s resolution of “going for a run” yet, there’s still plenty of time to make it happen. Thankfully, there are a whole lot of fun, alternative London running events in 2020 you can still sign up for – the perfect inspiration to hit the gym this summer. Here are some of our favourites…
Running Events in London – Confirmed For 2020
1. Year round, all over London: ParkRun
This weekly tradition brings people together on Saturday mornings to run a 5k in a local park. It really is that simple. There are over 50 runs all over the city, from Ally Pally to Wimbledon, and hundreds of people of all abilities take part of each, so it’s the perfect event no matter. And it’s free to join in! Find one near you here.
2. February 9: Cancer Research UK Winter Run
Officially the largest 10k in London, the Cancer Research Winter Run is the first major event in the London running calendar. Over 20,000 people will be pitching up at the start line, and if you’d like to join them, you’ll need to nab a charity place. Find out more here.
3. February 16: Royal Parks Winter 10k Series – Hyde Park
It’s London’s most iconic park, and here’s your chance to see it at speed! The circuit mixes arrow-straight paths with curves around the Serpentine, and you’ll get a unique souvenir medal at the end of it too. Further 10k races in March, June and October will also do nicely if you’re conscious that the February run is a scant four weeks away. Find them all here.
4. March 1: The Big Half
The London marathon’s little brother is currently sold out, but charity places are available if you’re able to raise the required amount of money. Starting at Tower Bridge and finishing at the Cutty Sark out in Greenwich, it’s a winding route that follows the Thames out east. Sign up for a place here.
5. March 12: Vertical Rush
Finding running a little too easy? Try the London running race that’s entirely uphill! Vertical Rush is a mad dash to the summit of Tower 42, which boasts 932 steps, 42 floors, and one pretty epic view at the finish line. It’s still open for sign-ups, but you’ll need to commit to raising £180 for homeless charity Shelter in order to take part. (The truly mad amongst you can try the Vertical Mile, which is Vertical Rush done ten times. Don’t say you weren’t warned.) Register here.
6. March 15: Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon
The playground of the Tudors is a suitably stirring background to this race, which starts and finishes within the grounds of the historic palace. Mercifully, it’s a mostly flat route, running alongside the Thames in sections, and you’ll get free entry to explore the palace gardens once you’ve finished (having exhausted your body, you can then exhaust your mind trying to escape the famous maze). Do bear in mind the fact that they operate a rather strict three hour cutoff time for the race, however. Sign up here.
7. March 29: London Landmarks Half Marathon
Another London running event with charity places only, and it’s not hard to see why. Taking in the sights of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, The Shard, and the London Eye, the Landmarks Half welcomes some 14,000 runners on what’s possibly the sweatiest sightseeing tour in town. You can still get involved even if you don’t fancy running – they’re currently looking for volunteers to do everything from handing out medals to dressing up as famous landmarks (register for that here). More info available here.
8. April 5: adidas City Runs – 1 Hour
A slightly unusual event, in that there’s no finish line. Now, this may sound like absolute hell for the amateur runner, but it’s actually quite liberating; you’re invited to run for one hour, and see how far you get, whether that’s as little as 5k or as far as… well, I guess it’s up to you! You can sign up here.
9 April 5: Grand Union Canal Half Marathon
Across town from the 1 Hour run, there’s a slightly more taxing event happening, as keen runners and amateurs alike will race from Uxbridge’s Cowley Recreation Ground to Cassiobury Park in Watford. Central it is not, but it’s certainly scenic, winding alongside the water in a grand sweep of north-west London. It also repeats in November, should you wish to give yourself a little more time. Find out more and sign up here.
10. April 19: Regent’s Park Spring Half Marathon
Regent’s Park host running events through the summer, but the crown jewel has to be the Spring Half Marathon. The route winds alongside ZSL London Zoo, past the boating lake, and through tranquil gardens, making it one of the greener routes around town. The park also hosts six 10k events, one per month from April to September, if you fancied a less taxing run. Find the full running schedule here.
11. May 17: Hackney Half Marathon
Plenty of reasons to love this race, including a winning route which usually takes in such sights as Broadway Market, Mare Street, Hackney Wick, and Olympic Park, and lots of lovely merch upon finishing. But really, the best reason to tackle this one is because most of the Secret London office are running it, and frankly we’re going to need to healthy people to help carry us over the finish line… Sign up here.
12. May 25: Vitality London 10,000
You know that last, glorious stretch of the London Marathon, when the triumphant runners summon their last reserves of energy for a grand finish on The Mall? Yeah, this is that, just with a much more manageable 10k beforehand. Find out more and sign up here.
13. May 31: Double Dash 5k
It’s one of the shortest races on this list, but there’s an offbeat twist that’s put it firmly amongst our favourites. Namely, that you and a partner will be tethered at the wrist for the duration of the race, requiring teamwork and collaboration to complete the race. It supports the RNIB, and is inspired by the way many people with sight loss go running. You know the saying “you’re only as fast as your slowest member”? Yeah, that’s pretty useful knowledge for this one. Sign up here.
14. May 31: Richmond AIR:RUN
Brand new for 2020, and an intriguing new addition at that. You’ve got the option of a 10k or a half marathon, but each race features a musical twist (AIR stands for Audio Inspired Running) that’ll get everyone marching along to the same beat. Add in closed roads, the high probability of catching sight of the Richmond Park deer, and the fact that the park’s Isabella Plantation should be in full bloom, and you’ve got an absolute winner. Learn more and sign up here.
15. June 11: Superhero in the City
If you’re lacing up your trainers for any sort of run, you’re already a superhero in our eyes. Superhero in the City takes that a little bit further, for a 5k run in which all participants wear a mask and cape to save the world by pounding the pavement. The route isn’t bad, either: a neat little jaunt which heads past The Globe, Tate Modern, and over Blackfriars Bridge. Get your place here.
16. July 5: Asics London 10k
A ten-kilometre running event through central London – Regent Street, the Stand and Embankment are all part of the route – offering bands and DJs every kilometre and over 10,000 runners taking part. Get your tickets here.
17. September 12: Hampstead Heath 10k, 5k, and Fun Run Trail
The tagline ‘Run For Your Life’ may sound ominous, but this running festival is actually a charity event that raises funds to get people involved in heart-healthy activities. The 2k Fun Run is extremely family-friendly, whilst the 5k and 10k are trail routes that’ll challenge your uphill skills. Sign up here.
18. September 12-13: Richmond RunFest 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon
This weekend of running offers the chance to take part in a 5k, 10k, half marathon or full marathon. Either way, you’ll get the chance to run through Kew Gardens and along the Richmond riverside, making it one of the prettiest routes in the city. They call themselves ‘the UK’s most exclusive marathon’, but it doesn’t seem especially expensive, so we’re guessing they don’t have too many places. Best register now then! (Bonus: you’ve got ages to train and you can do it over the summer!)
19. September 27: Ealing Half Marathon
This West London race was voted the UK’s best half marathon three years in a row (I’m not sure what makes it so good – perhaps someone gives you a piggyback part of the way? We can but hope!) It too boasts fully-closed roads so you can veer about all over the place, should you so desire. Enter now, here.
20. October 11: Royal Parks Half Marathon
Another charity-supporting race, the Royal Parks Half offers one of the dreamiest routes in London. Four Royal Parks – Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’ Park, and Kensington Gardens – lie along the course, and some 16,000 runners are expected to partake. Charity places are available now, or you can sign up to their newsletter to win a place in the ballot. Find out more here.
21. October 11: London Lighting Run
The name is badass, and the course is pretty special too. Over the course of a 5k or 10k race, you’ll take in the sights of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after dark, wending your way along the waterways and around London Stadium at a suitably brisk pace. Book your spot here.
Running Events in London 2020 – Dates TBC
22. July, date TBC: adidas City Runs – Shoreditch 10k
The Shoreditch 10k is a great opportunity to explore the streets of east London on closed roads. It’s a flat route that winds through some of the most eclectic corners of the borough of Hackney, and offers a golden opportunity for a new PB if that’s what you’re after. Sign up here.
23. October, date TBC: Urban Rush
It’s not been pencilled in for 2020 yet, but it’s well worth trying if it returns. A 15 mile run, all the way from the Olympic Park in Hackney to Putney in deepest south-west London, this is a race that’ll truly transport you. (Fortunately a van takes all your bags to the other end!) It’s organised by Shelter and raises money to help the homeless in London. Keep an eye on Shelter’s website for updates.
24. November, date TBC: adidas City Runs – Fulham 10K
Having run this one in 2019 with minimal training and a cold, I can’t exactly remember much of the route or atmosphere (not falling over was a higher priority). However, a breathless charge through the streets of west London, including a nice circuit around Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge ground, made it a good ‘un. Keep an eye on the 2020 dates here.
Also published on Medium.