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The best 5k and 10k charity runs

Raise funds while raising your heart rate

Image of charity run starting line.

Want to run for charity but not sure if you’ve got the legs or the training schedule for a full marathon? A 5k or 10k charity run could be just the ticket.

Fortunately, there are loads to choose from all over the country. Here is our pick of the bunch.

The Vitality London 10,000

Established in 2008, this has become one of the country’s most popular mass participation 10k runs – so it’s no surprise that the Virgin Money London Marathon organisers are behind it.

You’ll pass a host of London landmarks along the route, from Big Ben to Buckingham Palace. The race was shown live on TV for the first time in 2019, so you might even get your 15 minutes of fame…

Date: 25 May 2020

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Standard Chartered Great City Race

Taking place in the City of London, this is a unique corporate 5k. Runners from the accountancy, banking, media, insurance and legal sectors are invited to take part.

The race starts in the early evening, with post-race drinks, music and entertainment lasting until long after sun-down. It’s the ideal event for group fundraising – why not sign up with your work colleagues?

Date: 21 July 2020

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The Ovarian Cancer Walk Run – Edinburgh and London

5k or 10k, walk or run, Edinburgh or London. This is a flexible option for anyone who wants to get active and make a difference for women with ovarian cancer.

The runs were previously held in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park and London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic park – both uniquely scenic backdrops.

Date: October 2020. Official dates are yet to be released.

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Color Obstacle Rush

A seriously fun run, with 20 obstacles, eight colour stations, 20 music zones and a whole lot more set out along a 5k course. Think music festival atmosphere, with all the thrills you’d expect from running a marathon. Prepare to make some wonderful, hilarious memories.

There are several events lined up for summer 2020. Sign up now to avoid disappointment.

Date: Various throughout the year

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Race for Life

Cancer Research’s race events raise money to support research into more than 200 types of cancer. And there is an event for everyone. 5k, 10k and muddy events. Runs or walks. Multiple cities across the country. These guys are all about inclusivity, so as many people as possible can raise money for this crucial cause.

Like many of the runs in this list, Race for Life events are known for their positive atmosphere. Bring a team of morale-boosting supporters with you or, if you can’t take part, head along to cheer from the side-lines.

Date: Various throughout the year

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Spartan Race

Both physically and mentally demanding, these races are hugely popular around the globe. Whether you’re taking part in a team together or going it alone, you’ll soon discover that the camaraderie at Spartan Race is second-to-none.

There are a variety of obstacle courses available. If you’re a beginner, we advise training yourself up before taking part in Spartan Race. And remember, the more you focus on your chosen charity, the more determined you’ll be!

Date: Various throughout the year

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Simplyhealth Great Runs

Great Runs take place all over the UK and give you a chance to raise money for the charity of your choice. For something different, you can even take the dog along for the 2.5k Canine Run!

There are 27 events held across nine cities, with all ages and abilities welcome.

Date: Various dates throughout the year

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Tips for running your first 5 or 10k

New to the running game? Don’t worry, everyone is welcome. Here’s some advice to ease you into your first race.

Keep it simple

You may be tempted to set crazy goals. In a word: don’t. Enjoy the journey, and set challenging yet realistic running targets to keep your motivation at its peak. Keep it fun!

Take it easy

Relaxation is key in the day before the race, so keep the weight off your feet if possible. Think reading, boxset-binging or doing some gentle yoga, rather than running, walking or hitting the shops.

Stay hydrated

Guzzling heaps of water on race day isn’t the way to go. Instead, get plenty of water in the days leading up to the race. The way you eat should work in the same way – graze on healthy foods rather than simply loading up on carbs the night before you run.

Ready, set, raise

Good to go? Set up your Virgin Money Giving fundraising page, then get ready to reach the finish line.

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