Race report: The 30th Beachy Head Marathon - Saturday, 23 October 2010
Last weekend’s 30th Beachy Head Marathon saw a seventh victory for the University of Brighton’s Stuart Mills as he crossed the finishing line first matching his 2008 time of just 3 hours 2 minutes.
Stuart has competed in the event for more than eight years and the runner, originally from New Zealand, claimed first place for the seventh time shaving a minute off last year despite the heavy rain.
With more than 1,700 entrants taking part on Saturday, athletes came from as far as Canada, America, Milan, Switzerland and Romania to take part in the country’s largest off road marathon, which covers parts of the new South Downs National Park.
Eastbourne Borough Council Cabinet Member for Tourism, Cllr Neil Stanley said “Wow, what fantastic effort from all of the entrants this weekend taking on one of the most challenging marathon courses in the country and battling against the poor weather too. This year was a very special 30th celebration for the Beachy Head Marathon and I’d like to offer a huge Congratulations to Stuart Mills for bagging his seventh win and a great big Well Done to all those who took part. I’d also like to thank the large team of volunteer stewards and marshals who were on hand around the course making the event run smoothly and giving the entrants some much needed encouragement.”
This year’s top 10 finishers included a strong proportion of East Sussex athletes with six local runners crossing the finishing line within 3 hours 30 minutes and the first woman back came in just a minute later at 3 hours 31 minutes.
Emma Richards from Hailsham Harriers was the first woman home, followed by Lisa-Joanne Barry from Cambridge at 3 hours 42 minutes and Beverley Chapman from Heathfield Road Runners at 3 hours 50 minutes.
A record 851 entrants completed the Beachy Head Marathon within the magical 6-hour barrier this year and successfully took on the 26-mile course, which included 300 steps and 14 gates. 2010 also welcomed the highest ever number of Eastbourne entrants with 212 locals navigating their way over the highs and lows of the course.
There was a strong line up of contenders in the Junior Challenge too with 50 children taking on their own mini marathon on Saturday morning on specially organised 2km and 3km routes around Whitbread Hollow.
Phil Done, aged 13, put his best foot forward to take the junior crown in the 3km challenge clocking up a finishing time of just 13 minutes 19 seconds and Logan Madhas, aged 8, was first boy home in the 2km course finishing in 9 minutes 30 seconds.
Receiving fantastic feedback from entrants who have previously voted it amongst Runners World top 10 UK routes, organisers of the Beachy Head Marathon Eastbourne Borough Council are already preparing for next year when the event returns on 22 October 2011.
Entries are expected to open in February 2011 for any budding athletes looking to take on Stuart and compete for the marathon title or for any runners, walkers and joggers simply looking to take on a personal challenge and raise money for charity.
||University of Brighton
||Bracknell Forest Runners
||Lisa- Joanne Barry
||Heathfield Road Runners
For more information on the event and to see the 2010 results table visit www.beachyheadmarathon.org.uk.