The time has come for thousands of runners from around the world to rise to the challenge of the Beachy Head Marathon this weekend.
One of the biggest and most notorious off-road marathons in the UK, the course follows the scenic coastal path through the South Downs National Park.
The breathtaking (for more reasons than one) route that runners will take includes 300 steps, 14 gates, and a whole lot of hills and goes through Jevington, Alfriston, Litlington, Friston Forest, the Cuckmere Valley and Seven Sisters, including Birling Gap and, of course, Beachy Head itself.
The marathon kickstarts at 9am on Saturday (October 29) at Bede’s Prep School and hot on its heels will be the 10k soon afterwards.
This shorter run boasts equally beautiful views for those who may not be able to manage the whole 26 miles.
It starts in the same place as the marathon and loops across the Downs to the Belle Tout lighthouse and back.
There will be plenty of viewing points available for spectators to cheer on runners, joggers and walkers alike as they make their way around both courses.
Last year’s marathon winners were Stuart Mills of Uckfield Runners – with a time of three hours and eight minutes – and Sarah Swinhoe from London Heathside, who completed the course in three hours and 23 minutes.
Meanwhile, Ben Short of Horley Harriers won the 10k with a time of 37 minutes and 34 seconds.
For anyone taking part in this year’s races, registration will be open on Friday (October 28) from 3pm-8pm and Saturday (October 29) from 7am-8.30am for the marathon and 9am for the 10k.
Runners will need to register and collect their numbers and timing chips.Registering for other participants is possible as long as you know their name and date of birth.
The registration marquee will be located on Helen Gardens, adjacent to Bede’s Prep School.
Checkpoints along the way will offer bottled water, bananas, chocolate bars, Jaffa Cakes, soup, jelly babies, sausage rolls, and juice for anyone in need of a quick pick-me-up.
Meanwhile times will be printed at the finish line; for health and safety reasons all runners must return by 6pm.
For more information visit www.beachyheadmarathon.co.uk