One of the biggest off-road marathons in the UK returns to Eastbourne this weekend as the Beachy Head Marathon prepares to get underway on Saturday (October 26), this year with an additional 10k race alongside.
The Beachy Head Marathon is
a long-established fixture in the race calendar and attracts more than 1,500 runners, including overseas participants.
And, with its scenic yet extremely challenging route through the South Downs National Park countryside proving ever-popular, it’s little surprise the 2013 race is set to see the full field of 1,750 tackle the course.
The gruelling 26-mile run includes 300 steps and 14 gates, passing through Jevington, Alfriston, Litlington, Friston Forest, the Cuckmere Valley and Seven Sisters, including Birling Gap and Beachy Head.
With live music at key points along the way, there will also be plenty of viewing points for spectators to cheer entrants on around the course.
For those hill runners who wish to enjoy the stunning scenery but find the full distance a little too daunting, organisers have put on a shorter 10k race that will set off just after the marathon.
It has been arranged in conjunction with the main event to create a brilliant day of sporting activity and a late surge of entrants into the 10k race has taken the total tally of expected runners for the whole day to more than 2,000.
Eastbourne Borough Council Cabinet Member for Tourism and Leisure, Cllr Carolyn Heaps said, “I am always impressed by the enthusiasm and stamina of the Beachy Head Marathon runners and it is very exciting to see an addition 10k race added to the day.
“The additional race allows a wider audience to run the race in stunning surroundings.”
This year, as every other, participants will remember the tireless work of Marathon founder Leslie Smith, whose family make an annual award at the event. In 2013, the award will be made by Helen Smith to The Fastest Female Marathon Walker.
Local company Bookers Wholesale are sponsoring the event, along with Eastbourne Motoring Centre and the Grand Hotel.
Both races start and finish at Bedes School on Dukes Drive, with the Beachy Head Marathon starting at 9am and the 10k race shortly afterwards. It is expected runners will be returning to the finish line from 12-6pm.
This year, the Tiger Inn, East Dean is also offering a free pint from the Beachy Head Brewery to all those who complete the marathon on presentation of their medal.
Last year saw 1,650 entrants in the marathon, which was won by the University of Brighton’s Rob Harley in a time of three hours and nine minutes. The first lady home was Susie Casebourne in three hours and 31 minutes.
The event’s success also owes a lot to the many volunteers who marshal and support the race. For further information, contact Julie Paul at Eastbourne Borough Council Events Team on 01323 415442.
For details on the race, visit http://www.visiteastbourne.com/events/BeachyHeadMarathon.aspx.