THE Beachy Head Marathon will be going the distance this weekend, as runners take part in the annual sporting fixture, thanks to new Covid safety management procedures in place.

With runners setting off in staggered waves, the challenging route across the South Downs National Park will see events taking place across three days instead of one, along with a number of distancing measures.

Last weekend saw the successful and safe completion of the first Half Marathon event with around 700 runners making it to the finish line.  This Saturday 24 October hosts the biggest challenge with 1,500 runners racing across more than 26 miles, and the popular 10K brings a fast-paced finale on Sunday, for those looking to sprint.

Sponsored by Euro Self Drive, Bede’s Prep School, St Andrew’s Prep, TEMPO Running Shop and Eastbourne Herald, social distancing measures at the start include the introduction of a large holding area near the start line with distanced waiting pens, the wearing of mandatory face masks, safety messages on the big screen and staggered times of arrival. 

With reduced entry numbers across all three events, other measures also include registration by post, a participant code of conduct, screening at the start and finish line to prevent spectators gathering, hand sanitising stations throughout the course, additional safety signage and a ban on overtaking along parts of the course.

Volunteers along the course have also been provided with additional PPE, a virtual safety briefing in advance and the provision of Covid safety officers on site.

Normally one of the UK’s biggest off-road races, participants from very high risk areas and Wales have withdrawn from the event in advance, and spectators are this year discouraged from attending to help maintain social distancing and ensure the safety of all runners and volunteers taking part.

Despite the changes this year, participants can still enjoy the same refreshments along the way, with a well-deserved pasty and a medal at the finish.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “The Beachy Head Marathon really is leading the way in helping to reopen the outdoor events industry safely.  An incredible amount of planning has taken place with both national and regional authorities and our event partners to enable this pioneering Covid-secure event to take place. 

We are grateful to all of the support from our participants and volunteers and we look forward to safe and enjoyable event this weekend.”

The successful Half Marathon last weekend saw Stephen Fabes and Rose Penfold sprint first across the finish line in the men’s and women’s race, with times of 1:23:11 and 1:32:53 respectively.  Jason Lee, Marcin Gawel, Alexie Williams and Sophie Coleman followed suit taking secondand third places.

Spectators should avoid the start and finish area and the race route during the event which runs throughout the day on Saturday and also on Sunday morning.

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