Whether you’re an avid runner, gentle jogger or fun running fanatic, there’s bound to be some Manchester running races that float your boat. Renowned for its cooler climate (much to the dismay of local, and running Mancs: as they’re better known) and flat landscape, Manchester offers the perfect conditions for smashing out some casual PBs. But, fear not, if you’re a hill-running junkie, who prefers the insanity of inclines, then heading less than an hour out of the city and you can be on top of the world, in a trail running heaven. If you want to get to know the city while taking a run, then check out some of our Manchester sightrunning tours!
If you’re keen to try running in ‘Madchester’ then look no further. From the city’s most popular races, to the lesser known gems of Manchester running races, take your pick and lace up for the run of your life!
Main Manchester Running Races
Asics Greater Manchester Marathon
Date: 7th of April
Start Time: 10 AM
Held in April, the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon is the perfect marathon for both first timers, who want to keep a flat and level footing and marathon veterans, who are aiming to get a PB under their belt. An April marathon, has the advantage of cooler climate running on the day, but also gives you that much needed motivation for those gruelling winter runs. And you’ll be sure to reap the reward of winter training, at the finish line!
The marathon circuit begins near the iconic Old Trafford Football Stadium, (home to ‘by far the greatest team’) Manchester United, and takes you on a journey around Manchester’s picturesque suburbs. If retracing your route is a bug bear (as it is for me! My Room 101 of running, you could say!) then this is the perfect looped course for you!
Date: 13th of October
Start Time: TBA (Probably 9 AM)
Manchester half marathon is the half, of all halves, to do! Throughout the 13.1 flat miles, runners are serenaded through the streets with a spectrum of musical talent. In true ‘muscial manc’ style, choirs, brass bands, steel drums, rock bands, dancers and DJs line the city streets to lift the runner’s spirits…and their feet! It is all about the atmosphere. There’s even a prize for the musical talented voted, by the runners, as the best. It’s a day for fun to be had for runners and spectators alike. The route itself takes racers on a journey past some of Manchester’s iconic structures, Manchester United Football Club and Cricket Ground, and into some of the lesser known tree-lined suburbs, giving participants a perfect balance of city and suburban running.
Then there’s the medal. Dedicated to the worker bee heritage of Manchester, the golden yellow honeycombed medal, engraved with the Manchester Bee emblem is a must have for the medal collection!
Smaller and Club Manchester Running Races
If you’re a lover of mixing up your runs and sampling those lesser known, fun and quirky Manchester running races;
Date: 7th of August
Start Time: 7 PM
Organised by Run North West, a brilliant, independent running event company (who have also recently opened its doors to a runners heaven shop) the Quarry Bank Trail Race is a rough 5 mile trail race set in one of Britain’s greatest industrial heritage and National Trust sites, Quarry Bank. At the starting point of the race, you will be greeted by one of the best preserved (and most beautiful) textile mills. That should draw your attention away from the beastly, yet beautiful, 5 miles ahead of you. At least for a few moments! The route is made up of meandering hidden trails, woodland paths (and some killer steps) and brings you out alongside the Manchester Airport runway trail. Ever wondered if you could race a plane?
Date: 1st of June
Start Time: 2:45 PM
Macclesfield Harrier’s Wincle Trout race is a race like no other. Forget runners medals, finishers tees or running paraphernalia prizes. Your prize for finishing this brutal gauntlet of hills (or mountain trails!) is exactly at the title suggests. A trout. A locally caught, uncooked (dead, not alive!) river trout…which, incidently, is smashing on the BBQ with a touch of lemon and garlic! And, by god, when you’ve finished the gruelling 6 miles of inclines and fell running, you’ll have worked up an appetite. The Wincle Trout Fell Race is combined with the Wincle Fayre- think Maypole dancing, picnics, BBQs, home brewed local cider and general merriment- so it’s worth making a day of it with the whole family!
Date: 29th of December
With only 400 places, and a donation charity fee, the Crazy Legs Adlington Winter Warmer is an, on the day sellout each year, so being that early bird is a must! The race is usually held between Christmas and New Year…the perfect time for working off some of those mince pies and blowing the Christmas cobwebs away. With all race entries going to a selected charity, it fits in well with the festivities and is the race that keeps on giving. The challenge. The challenge of the race (tough for any seasoned runner) is that it’s a NAKED race. Well, naked, in the sense that no timing apparatus- Garmins, Fitbits, Strava etc can be used. And, yes, there is a check at the start line! Runners have to surrender their technology and run free…imagine that! A technophobes dream. On entry, racers bet on their finishing time for the 10KM (ish) route and there’s a prize in it for the winners. It really is about the enjoyment of running and going back to basics.
Date: Not yet confirmed, around the 1st – 2nd week of December
Start Time: TBA
If you’re all about a festive fun races, then the Tatton Yule Yomp is one of the most festively spirited Manchester running races, perfect for you! The start line is awash with Santa Claus’, Christmas Trees, Elves and even some of the parks real life Reindeers. All you need to get you into the Christmas spirit. Tatton Park is nestled in the Cheshire countryside- amongst rolling fields, enchanted woodlands and picturesque villages- think cobbled streets and stone houses, stepping back in time! The National Trust land is race, or Yomp, as they call it, is just the relaxing tonic to kick off the chaotic festive season. The 10KM Yule Yomp is a runners dream mixture of off and on road running.
So, with all that said, running in Manchester is always a pleasure and never chore!
For more information on running in Manchester check out our complete guide here.