Didn’t get into London? Here are the top six other marathons to choose from

The verdicts from the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017 public ballot are in. With places so coveted by so many, it wasn’t good news for everyone and tackling those famous 26.2 miles will simply have to wait for another year.

Of course, nobody likes rejection but fear not – there are still options aplenty to consider if the challenge of a spring marathon is what you are seeking next year.

If a big city event appeals, then there are a couple of races in central Europe within easy reach which could well fit the bill. Coming slightly earlier in the year is the Barcelona Marathon (www.zurichmaratobarcelona.com), which takes place on March 12 and offers the chance to take in many of the finest sights the Catalonian capital has to offer – from the Nou Camp stadium to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.

There’s also plenty to see on the route of the Paris Marathon (www.schneiderelectricparismarathon.com), which is staged on April 9. The race starts at the Arc de Triomphe and the 57,000-strong field takes in just about every Parisian landmark imaginable on the way through the city streets.

The Brighton Marathon (www.brightonmarathon.co.uk) takes place on the same day as Paris and is a course full of PB potential. General entries for the April 9 event are now closed but there are still charity places available for a race which spends much of the time hugging the splendid seafront.

If you’d like a little more time to prepare for your marathon challenge then May is hardly short of options, either. The Belfast City Marathon (www.belfastcitymarathon.com) kicks off the month on May 2 (Bank Holiday Monday).

There’s a brand new addition to the UK marathon scene, too, with the inaugural Stirling Scottish Marathon (www.greatrun.org) getting the Great Run British Marathon Series off to a spectacular start on May 21. Starting at Blair Drummond Safari Park, the route will take in the glorious Stirlingshire surroundings – not to mention a number of historic landmarks – before finishing in the shadow of Stirling Castle.

If that whets your appetite for more then entries are now open too for the following event in the Great Run British Marathon Series – the Birmingham International Marathon (www.greatrun.org), which is staged on October 15.