Your 10k questions answered

As every runner will discover, it’s a distance that is so much more than simply knowing how many miles 10k is.

How many miles is 10k? is a question you’ll get asked all the time as a runner. Not because of the answer – 6.2 miles to be exact – but more because of the inspiring nature of the distance. It’s something all runners want to aspire to, as it’s a distance with such a fabulous heritage.  

Running 10k is all about taking on a tough but very achievable challenge, and once you’ve done so, impressing your friends. 

As a 10k runner myself, I can confirm it’s a hugely popular distance worldwide. Whether you’re in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, for the Auckland Castle 10k, or Auckland, New Zealand, for the Round the Bays 10k – both places I’ve raced – it’s received in the same enthusiastic way from competitors and spectators alike. So what are you waiting for? Enter one today. 

A woman running on the beachCredit: Shutterstock / TheVisualsYouNeed
Running 10k is inspirational for so many reasons

What is a 10k in miles? So much more than merely 6.2

25 laps of a running track

For club runners and Olympians (and anyone who fancies a go, of course), 10k is 25 laps of a running track. 

It sounds a bit repetitive, but the Night of the 10,000m PBs on Hampstead Heath’s Parliament Hill track will show you it’s anything but. This free-to-attend meeting, featuring some of the greatest runners in the world, is an interactive festival. Rarely for a track race, spectators can stand on the track or on the infield. 

On each lap, runners pass through two tents that cover the home and back straights and are packed with beer-drinking fans. Each tent houses a bar, which adds to the noise and excitement and truly rumbles as the runners race through it.  

The busy programme starts early afternoon with graded races for both men and women, the fields determined by their personal bests (PBs). Then as the day progresses, so the races get faster, culminating in two world class races, one for men and one for women.  

Runners line up for the 10,000m on the trackCredit: James Sadlier
The Night of the 10,000m PBs is exciting for runners and fans alike

The perfect distance to run

As legend Mel Batty, the former world record holder for 10 miles back in the 1960s and a member England’s team for the 1962 Empire Games in the six miles (10k was adopted as the Championships distance in 1970) once told me, 10k is a distance that tests everything you have, from endurance to speed to mental toughness. Plus, of course, the science will confirm, running distances of 10k (and longer) is good for you.  

What was the best 10k ever?

The greatest 10k ever is always a hotly contested subject, but Billy Mills’ win in the 1964 Olympics certainly ranks right up there. Mills, from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, suffered from Type 2 diabetes and was a complete outsider in the race. However, knowing his blood-sugar level could sustain only one final effort, Mills timed his finishing surge to perfection. And as he passed a German runner, he thought he saw an eagle on the other man’s insignia. The sight reminded him of his father’s words: “Right now your wings are broken, but someday you will have the wings of an eagle.” He sprinted to a famous victory ahead of the world record holder. 

Age is certainly no barrier

Runners aged 50 and beyond continually prove that getting older doesn’t have to stop them. Just this year, Alistair Walker, aged 66, ran 10k in 34mins 32secs, while fellow Scot Fiona Matheson, 62, flew around in 38mins 8secs. In the same race, 57-year-old Lucy Elliott who ran 33mins 53secs when she was younger, ran 36min 9secs. Age is no barrier when it comes to running 10k. 

Bucket list 10k races

7 classics to inspire you

Leeds Abbey Dash 10k 

October 22 2023 

Get ready to run a really fast time. This is traditionally one of the quickest races in the country and will feature hundreds of athletes looking for a PB. And you can be one of them. Entries are open to everyone, so be prepared for something amazing when it comes to your own performance. 


The start of The Leeds Abbey Dash 10kCredit: Leeds Abbey Dash
The Leeds Abbey Dash is always a fast race for every age group

Mersey Tunnel 10k 

April 14 2024 

Is there anything quite like crossing the Mersey? Well, while using the ferry is good, running through the tunnel can rightly claim to top that. It opened in 1934, so you’re not only treated to a touch of history, but you’ll also run 3km (1.8 miles) underground that few ever get to experience.  

Edinburgh 10k 

May 25 2024  

Run in the stunning surroundings of Holyrood Park. The race starts with a 200-metre-long downhill section along Queen’s Drive before skirting around the bottom of Arthur’s Seat. So, as you can imagine, this route offers striking panoramic views of the city and Edinburgh Castle. 

Great Manchester Run 

May 26 2024  

Manchester’s original running event boasts a city centre start and finish, with half marathon and 10k routes taking runners out of the city past the iconic football stadiums.  

Runners in the Love Trails 10k a few metres after the startCredit: Love Trails / Anna Rachel Photography
The Love Trails 10k is all about enjoying yourself

Love Trails Festival  

July 11-14 2024 

Our generation are real festivalgoers, so here’s the perfect opportunity to strut your stuff in style in the Gower Peninsula in Wales. Love Trails is all about trail running, music, DJ sets, wellness seminars and generally living an outdoor lifestyle. Get your tent ready and dust down your trainers for a great 10k on the Saturday morning before returning to camp for more festival activities or a well-deserved rest. 

Beat the Boat 10k 

July (tbc) 2024 

Running along the towpath from Eton on an out-and-back course, this race allows spectators to travel in style along the Thames while loved ones run alongside on dry land. Of course, runners are allowed to go faster than the boats but, be warned, those Thames cruisers can travel at some speed.  

Beat the Tide 10k 

July (tbc) 2024 

Runners love racing but taking on the incoming tide is something else again. There’s something exciting about racing along the beach at Worthing in Sussex, with one eye on your watch and one eye on the tide. Fear not, this is open to all levels, and you don’t have to be King Cnut, who is said to have tried to turn back the tide in the 11th century. 

Paul Larkins

Written by Paul Larkins


Paul Larkins has been a sports journalist for more than 30 years, covering two Olympic Games, one Paralympics, numerous World Championships and, most recently, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022. He’s also been a magazine editor, heading up titles covering everything from running to cooking and buying tractors.

But his real passion is running. As a former GB International athlete and sub-4-minute miler in the 1980s, Paul has a great understanding of life-long fitness and the benefits it can provide. In fact, he’s still very competitive. In 2022 he ran in the World Masters’ Mountain Running Champs in the over-55 age group and is now looking forward to moving up a category and taking on the 60-year-olds.

He’s also part of the England Team Management set-up in road running as well as being an England team coach in the U18 age group for track and field athletics. Currently, he coaches a group of athletes ranging from 13 years old to 55 at his local club.

Outside of work, Paul loves cooking and driving classic cars. He’s owned everything from a 1966 Ford F-250 pickup to a clapped-out 1987 Porsche 944. He’s married to Elaine and they have a West Highland White Terrier named Benji, who’s not that keen on being timed for every run!