From iconic red buses and Buckingham Palace to the busy banks of the Thames –there’s nothing quite like London. And what better way to experience it than a race?
Whether you’re a local or just flying through for a visit, you can join in and discover the best activities this capital city has to offer. Reach your fitness goals by trying your hand at runs, swims, cycles and more. You might even have time for a cheeky pint at the end.
Here’s our pick of the best London races…
Best for office workers:
Sri Chinmoy 5Ks
Location: Battersea Park
Closest tube: Battersea Park (National Rail)
Weekend commitments foiling your Park runs? Why not try Sri Chinmoy instead. A series of 5k running events welcoming all abilities, held on weekday evenings throughout the summer and named after your favourite woodland creatures (such as the ‘Silver Starling’ and the ‘Hasty Hare’), it’s the perfect way to get in some training before you head home. Find out more here.
Best for wannabe mermaids:
Location: Hyde Park
Closest tube: Lancaster Gate (Central Line)
A one-day open water swimming event taking place in Hyde Park’s iconic Serpentine lake, Swim Serpentine invites you to don your wetsuit and dive in with the ducks. Both newbies and seasoned swimmers can choose from half- to two-mile race events – just make sure you’re prepared for the cold. Find out more here.
Best for new tri-athletes:
Location: Excel London
Closest tube: Canning Town (Jubilee Line)
Don’t be put off by its vast size and slick professional branding – this event caters for triathletes of all abilities. Beginners can start from just a 400m swim, 10k bike and 2.5k run (with much larger distances available for veteran tri-ers) and work their way along a beautiful route alongside the Thames. Register for your chosen distance here.
Best for groups:
Location: Holmbush Estate
Closest train station: Faygate (Arun Valley Line)
You won’t know who your real friends are until you’ve scaled a 25-foot high net-wall with them. A 5km course crammed full of horrible obstacles to test your grit and tolerance for cold water, small spaces and of course – mud – Tough Mudder was made for mad bunches of mates who are up for a fitness challenge. Spaces fill up quickly, so grab your team and sign up here.
Best for the feelgood factor:
Race for Life
Since its beginning 25 years ago the Race for Life has raised over £500 million for Cancer Research UK. It now includes hundreds of events all over the UK – including London’s Blackheath, Hyde Park and Finsbury Park – and welcomes racers of all abilities to walk, jog or run 5 or 10k. There are even obstacle courses for those after a bigger challenge. Pink fancy dress is encouraged, so bring your best feather boa. Register here.
Best for beautiful scenery:
Down tow up flow half marathon
Closest tube: Marlow (national rail)
If you’re starting to challenge yourself with some longer distance runs, why not try this annual half marathon event along the Thames towpath. It follows a mostly flat terrain, taking in spectacular scenery close to the historic Windsor Castle. Plus, there are plenty of spaces for spectators, so be sure to bring the family along to cheer you on. Sign up here.
Best for re-living the Olympics:
Location: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Closest tube: Stratford
Billed as ‘the world’s greatest festival of cycling’ Prudential RideLondon aims to inspire everyone to take up two wheels. Alongside professional races, there also events for non-professionals such as the Surrey 100, a 100-mile route ending at The Mall right in the heart of London. For families, there’s also the Surrey 19, covering the last 19 miles of the route. Visit here for details on how to enter.
Best for little racers:
Pretty Muddy Kids
Closest tube: Stratford (Central Line)
Organised by cancer charity Race for Life, Pretty Muddy Kids is the perfect event for little mud monsters. Let them loose on a course of crazy obstacles, complete with tunnels, climbing walls, slides and inflatables. Kids need to be at least 1.2 metres tall to take part and there are shortcuts built in for any who might not be up for the full 5k. Ready to get muddy? Register here.