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2021 Cycling and Running Events That Are Going Ahead Despite Covid-19

In Places, Running, Cycling, Outdoor, Events
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Have you have enjoyed the extra training time afforded by repeated lockdowns and the fact that daily exercise was one of the few things we were permitted to continue doing? If so, you may want to put the improvements in your fitness and endurance to the test by signing up to a race or a challenge event in the near future. This will not only allow you to showcase your fitter, stronger self, it will also provide you with an incentive to maintain your training as life edges back towards normal and there are more calls on our valuable time.

Having decided to sign up to a race you may find that many of your favourite local events may not be going ahead this year, as race organisers have been cautious about persevering with annual events given the emergence of new Covid-19 strains and the lack of clarity around when it will be safe to lift restrictions. 

Desperate to lace up our running shoes or jump back in the saddle and feel the adrenaline rush of competing again, we’ve been scouring the internet in search of races that are due to go ahead in the second half of 2021, despite the pandemic’s stubborn refusal to go away just yet. We are crossing our fingers, keeping an eye out for four-leaf clovers and generally hoping that any comeback Covid-19 makes from now on will be less successful than those made by Santana, Cher or Take That.

Cycling Events That Are Going Ahead in 2021 Despite Covid-19

Cyclists taking part in the Great North Bike Ride  

The Great North Bike Ride, 26th August 2021

Organisers promise that this will be the ‘most glorious 60 miles that you will ever bike’, so it seems like a good place to start our list of cycling events taking place in the second half of 2021.

The route starts at the seaside town of Seahouses, north of Newcastle Upon Tyne and follows the coast down to Tynemouth. Hoping to attract 2000 participants, this cycling event is perfect for newbies. It is signposted with over 500 signs, staffed by over 100 marshals and there are ambulances and mechanics on hand to help, should you or your bike run into difficulties.

Standard entry to the race costs £35, but you can pay extra for transport to the start or from the finish area. Entry fee includes a participant’s jersey, a finisher’s medal and refreshments throughout the race.

Cyclist taking part in the Mad Summer Hare

Mad Summer Hare Sportive 5th September 2021

Scientifically proven to be one of the best ways to explore the environs of Solihull, this classic sportive offers participants the option of doing either 75 or 100 miles and a choice between climbing 1000m or 2000m. 

Both routes take cyclists around the Umberslade Estate in Tanworth in Arden, which also offers glamping accommodation in luxury canvas bell tents and a host of family-friendly activities including pony experiences, forest school sessions and farm animal encounters. If you are a busy mum or dad who fits cycling training around parenting duties, you could easily make an enjoyable family weekend of it here. 

The price for standard entry to the Mad Summer Hare Sportive is £40, but discounts can be obtained by downloading the app and going premium. The price you pay includes full race support and a finishers pin badge.

Cyclist Taking Part in the Wye Valley Brewery Sportive

Wye Valley Brewery Sportive, 12th September 2021

Starting and finishing at Wye Valley Brewery in Stoke Lacy this cycling sportive takes you on a tour of the Malvern countryside between Hereford and Worcester. This scenic Herefordshire landscape inspired Edward Elgar to compose some of his finest work, including Land of Hope and Glory, which you may find yourself humming as you cycle past hop fields and apple orchards, enjoying the view of Hay Bluff and the distant Welsh mountains.

You have the option of taking on the 37-mile (60km) Half Pint route or the 53-mile (85km) Full Pint route.  Prices range from £22.50 to £35 (plus booking fee), but that includes a free bottle of beer and full race support.

Follow Let's Go Velo, the event organiser, on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest news about the race. 

Cyclists taking part in the Cranbourne Classic

Cranbourne Classic, 3rd October 2021

The team at UK Cycling Events have quite a few cycle races scheduled for the rest of 2021, in various destinations across the south of England. From the Suffolk Classic on July 24th to South Downs leg of the Gravel Series on November 28th, these inclusive events each offer three or four different course lengths (from Rook to Long), with all finishers getting a medal and over 18s also getting a free pint from Freedom Brewery.

The Cranbourne Classic takes place in the Cranbourne Chase AONB and although the route crosses three counties (Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire), there is nothing technical about any of the courses – you just get to enjoy the picturesque scenery as you ride through a series of sleepy rural villages.

Races cost between £30 and £45 to enter on the day, but can be booked in advance for a small discount. If you enter any five events from any series you get 20% off (the cost, not the route - that would be cheating!)

If you want to make a family day of it, children under 12 ride free but need to sign up at the same time as a paying adult and all children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult throughout the race.

Cyclists taking part in a Challenging Events race

Winter Wight Wheeler,  5th December 2021

If you aren’t afraid of wintry weather and you want to get a bit more training time under your belt before you commit to a cycling event, the Winter Wight Wheeler may be the race for you.

The last event in the organiser’s 2021 calendar, this cycle race has the potential to feel like the last day of term, with participants rocking up in Christmas-themed fancy dress to take on either a 36 or a 65-mile route around the island. Entry to this winter sportive includes full mechanical support en-route, a finisher’s medal and drinks and snacks at the end. Entry fees start at £20 and you have the option to pay a little bit extra for refund protection. 

Running Events That Are Going Ahead in 2021 Despite Covid-19

Thames Path Challenge, 11th September 2021

Run the full 100km of the Thames Path, from Putney Bridge in London all the way to Henley, or reduce your speed and your distance and stroll a portion of this famous path at your own speed.  The Thames Path Challenge weekend incorporates a range of different distances, to suit a broad spectrum of abilities.

The Thames Path Challenge provides a great opportunity to raise money too, either for a charity that partners the race, (such as Cancer Research UK, Great Ormond Street or Mind) or a good cause of your choice. With the capacity for 5,000 participants, the atmosphere and camaraderie during this event should help you power through to the finish line. 

Tiger at Chester Zoo

Run Chester Zoo, 31st October 2021

If you want to take on a 10k with a difference, why not sign up to a race that starts and finishes in Chester Zoo? A particularly good choice for runners who fit their training and racing around caring for young children, this unique race is second-to-none when it comes to providing entertainment for your mini spectators whilst you’re running (though we can’t promise that they won’t find the elephants and penguins a huge distraction from looking out for mummy or daddy in the crowd as they run past). 

At £36, this race is quite pricey for a 10k, but it does include entry to the zoo, some free technical running socks and a zoo-themed medal, so we think it’s probably worth it!

NB – If you are only capable of running dressed as a giant squid or a tomato, you won’t be able to enter this race, as fancy dress and face paint are not permitted due to the risk of frightening the animals.

Participants dressed up for Glow in the Park

Glow in the Park, Saturday 2nd October 2021

If you have spent lockdown doing the Couch to 5k program and are starting to really enjoy running, you may be ready to sign up to your first 5k race. At this juncture, you are in a great position to raise money for charity, as people will no doubt be impressed by your motivation to start running and your tenacity to stick with a training plan. However, if you would rather major on fun than fundraising at this point, you could sign up to Glow in the Park, which is taking place at the Kent Showground in Maidstone at the beginning of October.

Dress up in your finest neon and cover your face in day-glow paint to take on this fusion of dance party and running spectacular. Make your way through six different glow zones - including the Strobe Zone, Disco Zone and the Laser Zone – not once but twice (it’s a two lap course) and receive a Glow in the Park finishers medal when you are done. 

There is an early bird discount for anyone who registers before August 1st and you have the option pay an additional 10% of the price as cancellation insurance. If you can gather a group of friends to enter with you, groups can secure big discounts too.

Manchester Marathon, 10th October 2021

Starting at Old Trafford cricket ground, this 35,000-strong running event takes you into the city centre, out through Sale and Timperley to Altringham, and then back through Baguley and Chorlton-Cum-Hardy to finish back at Old Trafford. Perfect for runners who like to compete with lots of others and to be cheered on by a wealth of spectators, Manchester’s is the 4th largest marathon in Europe and it’s much easy to secure a spot here than it is to get one at the London Marathon. 

Having said that, this popular marathon was cancelled last year due to Covid-19 and the majority of participants have rolled their entry over to 2021, so general registration is now closed. However, if you have been training hard during lockdown and would really love a chance to take on this fast, flat PB potential course, you could still sign up to run and raise money for one of the race’s partner charities. 

At the time of writing it was still possible to run for the ABF Soldier’s Charity or the WWF and to join the waiting list to run for the Alzheimer’s Society. Registration fees range from £20 to £25 and minimum fundraising totals range from £200 to £400

Runners at the Finish Line of Broadway Marathon and Half Marathon

Broadway Marathon and Half Marathon, 7th November 2021

If you love trail running and enjoy experiencing picturesque parts of the world from the comfort of some muddy trainers, whilst schlepping up a big hill, this duo of Cotswold events will certainly put a smile on your face. These small, friendly trail races take in some challenging hill climbs but reward participants with some stunning views of the Cotswolds.

If you are looking for a fast race with PB potential race then keep scrolling, but if you want to take the pressure off and put your target marathon or half marathon time on hold for the weekend, this running challenge in a beautiful part of the country may be just what you need. Just remember to familiarise yourself with the course cut off times before you go, as being too leisurely about the whole thing may result in your race being cut short at one of the checkpoints!

Prices for these races range from £32 for a UKA affiliated entry to the half marathon to £44 for an unaffiliated entry to the marathon. 

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