Commit to fit! The best local races for 2022
Looking to get fit for 2022? Start with my curated guide to the best local triathlons, runs and fun events, and I'll see you at the finish line.
Oh My Obelisk, Dawlish, 13 mile or 9 mile
When: 10.30am, Sun 16 Jan
££: 13 mile, £20; 9 mile, £15
What to expect: Hills, mud, views… this is the hill that goes on giving from Dawlish Lesiure Centre to the observation point on Haldon, a real killer but perfect for running off the Christmas excess.
Hamledown Hammer and Hameldown 7even, Half marathon/10k
When: Sun 27 Feb, 9am/9.15am
££: Half £36; 10k £28
What to expect: This one is steep and gruelling but with brilliant Dartmoor views, starting and finishing in the village of Widecombe-In-The-Moor, at the foot of the Hameldown Tor, 600m high. It’s 98% trail, over grass, rocks, and mud sometimes muddy tracks and through forestry glades. And you have to ascend Hameldown Ridge twice. Can you nail the Hammer, or will it have you hammered?
Dark Dart Dash, Totnes, 10k/12 miles
When: Sat 26 March, 6pm
££: 12 mile, £25; 10k, £18
What to expect: A fully marshalled night time run – so don’t forget your head torch – a mash-up of the former Wild Dart Aquathlon and old Moonlit Flit route which starts at The Plains in Totnes, takes you on a fairly challenging mix of terrain and ends back at the welcoming post-venue of The Seven Stars.
The Hartland Hartbreaker, 9 or 18 miles
When: Sun 1 May, 11am
What to expect: An epic cross-country run taking you from Hartland Abbey along on coast paths with stunning views and though beautiful bluebell fields, through mud, river crossings some with ropes, and steep, vertiginous bits so not for the faint hearted! Not called Hartbreaker for nothing and a good one to do for charity.
Race the Tide, Mothecombe, 28.5/15.5/8.5 miles
When: Sat 21 May, from 11.30am
What to expect: A scenic tour of the Flete Estate with options on three distances so good for all fitness levels, taking you through woods and the beach at 7 miles, and the marathon takes you along Bigbury beach and across the causeway to Burgh Island, made famous by Agatha Christie as she wrote two books while staying there.
Great West Run, Exeter, Half marathon/10k
When: Sun 22 May, 9am
What too expect: Exeter’s big ‘un, and the one to train for with a closed-road route taking you right through Exeter city centre, starting and ending at Exeter Arena, and, if you do the half, taking you past the city train stations and along Cowley Road towards Crediton. The long hill back up towards the city feels pretty long but not too steep, and just remember to save some revs for that last lap round the stadium when you get back to the arena. The new 10km route follows the first and final 3 miles of the half marathon and it’s now partnered with Trees Not Tees – instead of race T-Shirts they plant a tree for every race participant.
Plymouth Half Marathon, plus a 10k and 5k
When: Sun 19 Jun
££: Half £36; 10k £26; 5k £10
What to expect: This one takes you from the Hoe through the closed city centre through the Barbican, across Laira Bridge and practically to Saltram House, past thousands of cheering crowds and back again. A great excuse to dress up and raise money for your favourite charity.
Arlington Canter, Barnstaple, 10k
When: July TBC
What to expect: a 10K off-roader, set in the wonderful woods surrounding the Arlington Court National Trust Property with mud, hills and lots of technical challenges.
Totnes Fun Run, 10k and Fun Run
When: Sun 1 Aug
What to expect: Mostly off road and along the picturesque River Dart, with a Fun Run for the kids. One to book early as this one gets full fast.
When: Sat 6 Aug
££: £8.14 – £16.76
What to expect: Expect to be showered with all the colours of the rainbow at colour stations as you go. You can run or walk the course.
When: September TBC
What to expect: Nicknamed the Fast & Flat, this course is mostly on the flat so if you’re looking for a personal best, this is the one. Starting and finishing in Rock Park, taking in watery views of the Taw and Torridge estuary, the route takes you through the town, onto the Tarka trail towards Fremington Quay, then joins the main road to Yelland Quay before heading back to Barnstaple on the Tarka Trail.
The Lundy Island Race, leaving from Ilfracombe
When: 14 miles, Sun 10 Jul
What to expect: An exciting new Pure Trail race on Lundy with fourteen miles of pristine, wildlife encrusted tracks tended by the Landmark Trust are open to run, walk (or crawl), with the MS Oldenburg to ferry competitors from Ilfracombe to the island and back.
Dart the Dart, Totnes Steamer Quay to Dartmouth, 13 miles
When: Dartmouth Food Festival Sept 2022
What to expect: A fun-filled foodie run along the banks of the River Dart from Totnes to Dartmouth, less a race more of an amble with lots of delicious snacks along the way. A chance to dress up and scoff your way around some of the best bits of the South Hams.
When: various dates
What to expect: Parkrun organises totally free 5k timed runs in 740 locations (and counting) around the world open to all ages and abilities. All you need to do is search your hometown to find your nearest run, sling on your trainers and go! Parkrun also organises junior races.
Dartmouth Triathlon, Blackpool Sands
When: Sun 12 June, 7am
££: £50- £55
What to expect: A truly spectacular location with golden sands and a relatively flat route, expect tough climbs at the beginning and end. You’ll be cheered on with a spectator-friendly course where you can run two abreast with a mate. Plus, new junior Swim-Runs/Aquathlons and adult swims on Saturday afternoon.
Croyde Ocean Triathlon, Croyde
When: Sun 10 July
What to expect: Show the Putsborough beach crowd what you’re made of with a 1.5k ocean swim, followed by 12k pedalling on your bike, and then to the finishing line with a 12k run.
Dawlish Triathlon, Dawlish Warren
When: Sun 25 Sept, 7.30am
££: £39-£44 early bird
What to expect: You’re in the coastal location of Dawlish Warren and an early start which kicks off with a bracing 750m sea swim , then it’s onto the bikes for one to three laps (24k) of a relatively sheltered and flat bike circuit. Then a final 5k along the coast path with waves and seagulls for company.