Beachy Head Marathon first climb

What A Day For Knight!

Two thousand visit Eastbourne for this bucket (and spade) list event...

It's the seaside spectacular that ought to be on everyone's bucket (and spade) list!

Beachy Head Marathon, formerly known as Severn Sisters Marathon, has evolved into a weekend programme of four races with challenging courses and distances from 10K to a 31-mile ultramarathon – all organised with aplomb by Eastbourne Borough Council’s Visit Eastbourne Events Team.

This year's events drew more than 2,000 extra visitors to the Victorian resort on the Sussex coast, watched over by the 530-foot-tall cliffs at Beachy Head – the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain and the feature that gives Beachy Head Marathon weekend its title.

Saturday (21 October) saw the marathon and ultramarathon competitors starting together on King Edward's Parade with a short run on the tarmac before tackling the first of many steep climbs – straight onto the South Downs National Park with far-reaching coastal views.

Among the competitors was Kate Knight (64) of Reigate Priory AC. Kate was so determined to complete her 150th marathon despite spinal surgery and a knee replacement seven years ago and after 11 hours, 8 minutes, and 27 seconds it was mission accomplished as the 1,154th and final finisher to be welcomed back to Eastbourne seafront.

The top three men were Oliver Varney (3:03:40), M40 Tom Harvey (3:07:12) and M40 Tim Short (3:12:06) – who all appear to be running unattached. The leading ladies were W35 Yvette Clark (Team Bodyworks XTC, 3:56:35), W35 Hazel Reade (London Frontrunners, 4:05:37) and Sophie McKeeman (Fulham RC, 4:08:29).

The ultramarathon was led by three men over 40: Neil Kirby (unattached, 4:03:36), Pete Sutton (TriForce Endurance, 4:09:13) and Andrew Born (Worthing & District Harriers, 4:15:38). The female podium was filled by W45 Olwen Cockell (Swale Combined AC, 5:21:53), Emma Dunnett (unattached, 5:30:38) and Florence Browning (unattached, 5:31:34) as 213 finished in 9:37:26.

The 10K is a perfect introduction to trail running and was a popular option with 539 finishers in 6:14:14 who were headed by Luke Thompsett (Eastbourne Rovers AC, 37:38) and Aislinn Darvell (Hailsham Harriers, 44:11).

Sunday morning (22 October) dawned with blue skies and perfect racing conditions for the concluding half marathon and victories for M40 Russell Dessaix-Chin (Belgrave Harriers, 1:26:39) and Gina Wilkinson (Lewes AC, 1:39:04) from 621 finishers in 7:22:02.

The results and previous reports are available via the runABC South race listing here.

Photo courtesy Visit Eastbourne/Beachy Head Marathon on Facebook

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