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Planning Retirement Online

Running After Retirement: Great Races Around the UK


Aside from the health benefits associated with running and other forms of exercise, taking part in races and other running events provides an excellent opportunity to meet and socialise with like-minded people, as well as the chance to travel and explore different parts of the country. Read on to learn more about why you should consider starting or continuing to run in your retirement years, as well as some great races around the UK in which you can take part.


Why you should run in your retirement years

Retirement is the perfect time for running – whether you're new to the sport or have been jogging for years, you'll find it much easier to schedule in regular sessions without the pressures of work looming over you. While you may find yourself slowing down a bit as you get older, there's no reason why you can't continue running and even participating in races well into your later life. Running or jogging offers numerous health benefits - it helps strengthen your heart and lungs, boosts circulation and helps reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. Like all weight-bearing activities, it can improve bone density and strength and help preserve mobility and muscle mass as you age. What's more, running is a great way to relieve stress and boost your mood, plus there are indications it can improve mental function and promote better sleep. If you're new to running, or perhaps haven't run for a long time, you can still get into the sport with a few precautions. Always check with your doctor before starting a new activity, especially if you have an existing medical condition, and take the time to gradually build up your base level of fitness before undertaking anything too ambitious. Even if you're already reasonably fit, it can take time for your body to get used to a new activity, so take it slowly – there's no rush. The best approach is to find a training programmes tailored to your level of ability and target race length, such as those provided by Bupa Care, and use it as your guide. This can help prevent you from doing too much too soon and putting yourself at risk of injury.


Exciting races around the UK

Running events have been steadily increasing in popularity in recent years, with numerous destinations across the UK and indeed around the world now holding races of varying lengths and level of difficulty. There's truly something for everyone, from 5k "fun runs" to gruelling ultramarathons. The events below are a great place to start if you're keen to set yourself a challenge, meet fellow runners and perhaps even raise money for a special charity while you're at it:


Bupa Great North Run

Frequently billed as the world's greatest half marathon, this hugely popular annual event attracts upwards of 50,000 participants from around the world. Starting in Newcastle city centre, the Great North Run crosses the famous Tyne Bridge and passes the athletics stadium at Gateshead before finishing up in the picturesque town of South Shields on the coast. There are also 5k and 10k options the same weekend if you prefer a shorter length.


South Coast Run

This scenic run series along the East Sussex coast is a great option for runners of all levels of ability. The South Coast Run follows a lapped course that is flat and fast and offers fabulous views of the seaside – not to mention a cooling sea breeze if the day is warm. With 5k, 10k and half marathon options, this popular run series always attracts lively crowds of runners and spectators alike.


Bath Running Festival

If you enjoy off-road running, the Bath Running Festival offers beautiful scenery and a friendly atmosphere, as well as a variety of races that can accommodate a range of fitness levels. The route meanders among green hills and valleys, with fabulous views of Bath at several points including the ruins of Sham Castle and the Iron Age fort on Solsbury Hill. Distances range from 300m to a full marathon, but be aware – all the routes are quite hilly, so you might want to add in some hill training.


jogscotland One Big Weekend

The popular Scottish running club jogscotland is encouraging everyone to get involved in running with a series of timed 5k runs being held in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth over the course of One Big Weekend in August. Each scenic course is flat and fast – perfect for beginners or more experienced runners looking for that personal best. More importantly, there's a fantastically friendly atmosphere designed to welcome newcomers to the sport – so there's a very good chance you'll make some new running friends.


Halifax Half and Full Marathon

If you're looking for a route with a bit of everything, the Halifax Half or Full Marathon could be the challenge for you. The looped route (one lap for the half marathon, two for the full marathon) takes in a diverse range of local scenery – from leafy woods and barren hills to urban and industrial landscapes. The first few miles are quite hilly, but once you're over those it's a smoother run to the finish – perfect for anyone looking to finish with a good time.


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