Runners ready to take on the marathon test

Beachy Head Marathon
Beachy Head Marathon

NEARLY 2,000 runners, walkers and joggers are making their final preparations for the Beachy Head Marathon in a fortnight.

The line-up for this year’s event features a colourful pack of entrants all ready to take on the challenging 26-mile cross-country course across the South Downs when it returns to Eastbourne on October 22.

Julie Gilbert-King, the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Borough Commander and her partner Mani will be running the marathon wearing full fire kit and breathing apparatus to raise funds for Networking Women in the Fire Service (NWFS).

Another competitor donning more than the usual running kit will be Paul Cudderford, who is tackling the 26 miles dressed as a rhino to raise funds for the charity Save the Rhino.

For runner Gordon Bennett, the Beachy Head Marathon will be his 100th marathon, after completing courses in all seven continents and 21 countries, including 79 marathons in the USA alone.

One entrant has completed more than 100 marathons in just two years after being a self-confessed couch potato, while another is aiming to complete 50 marathons this year to raise money for the Elizabeth Foundation, with the Beachy Head Marathon being his 44th challenge so far.

Eastbourne Borough Council cabinet member for tourism and leisure, Councillor Neil Stanley said, “I can’t believe it’s time for this year’s Beachy Head Marathon already and what a fantastic line up of entrants we have.

“The 1,750 places always fill up very quickly with the popular event continuing to be a favourite across the globe.

“It’s great to hear that so many entrants each have their own stories to tell as to why they are taking it on and I’d like to take this opportunity to wish them the best of luck as they complete their final week of training.”

Visitors are encouraged to come along to the event next weekend and cheer on the entrants as they set off from the start line outside St Bede’s School at 9am sharp.

With the event covering a route that meanders through the villages of Jevington, Alfriston, Litlington, Friston Forest, the Cuckmere Valley, Seven Sisters, Birling Gap and Beachy Head, there will be plenty of viewing points for spectators to cheer entrants on around the course.

For more information go to www.beachyheadmarathon.org.uk or call 0871 663 0031.