More than 2,000 runners and walkers took part in last Saturday’s Beachy Head Marathon.
The participants enjoyed unseasonably warm weather as they made their way around the 26 mile course which takes in the South Downs countryside.
The event attracted serious runners from as far afield as the USA and Hong Kong as well as a bumper batch of European runners this year with Italy, Sweden, Czech Republic, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Portugal all represented.
The event kicked off in front of Bede’s School at 9am and the course included 300 steps and 14 gates, passing through Jevington, Alfriston, Litlington, Friston Forest, the Cuckmere Valley and the famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, including Beachy Head.
The winner – and first man home – was Stephan Wenk from Maidstone Harriers with a time of two hours, 55 minutes and 38 seconds and Jo Singer from Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets AC was the first woman home in three hours, 32 minutes and 45 seconds.
The winner of the 10k race was Jon Sharkey with a time of 36 minutes and 59 seconds.
A spokesperson for Eastbourne Borough Council, which organises the event, said, “The 2014 Beachy Head Marathon was fortunate enough to have glorious weather that made the stunning scenery on route even more beautiful. It also allowed for some fantastic running.
“Congratulations to Stephan Wenk who made it first across the finish line and the first lady home Jo Singer.”
This year organisers boosted their food provision due to the huge increase in runners with a ton of bananas and jacket potatoes, enough sausages and sausage rolls to climb the length of Beachy Head twice, plus 20 kilos of Mars bars and three kilos of Jelly Babies at checkpoints along the route.
More than 150 volunteers and local organisations supported the event which has donated more than £55,000 from entry fees to charity since 2002.
Entries for next year’s event open on January 1 2015.