The Purbeck Marathon goes from strength as it celebrated its highest number of entries and highest number of finishers for its unique race on 14 September.
Announced as the UK’s best marathon in Runners World last February, a strong wind at the start meant that no course records were broken although the sun shone for most of the day.
Matthew Bennett from Southampton AC won the men’s race in 3.00.50 beating defending champion Steve Way of Bournemouth AC who was less than one minute behind. Third place went to Poole Runners’ Anthony Clark. It was a tight finish in the ladies race which was won by Lisa Hale of Sandhurst Joggers in a time of 4.03.16 ahead of Melanie Jewett of Eastleigh and Anna Douglas. The first local male was Alex Wainwright of Wareham in 3.26.02. The first local lady was Tracey Brooks of Purbeck Runners in 4.39.49. Overall, there were 324 starters and 319 finishers, only five failing to complete the course.
Despite the challenging route the runners were full of praise for the event due to its organisation and beautiful scenery. The patience of the marshals, many of whom had to stand for hours in remote locations, along with their cheeriness and encouragement was noted and they were a credit to the people of Purbeck.
The runners enjoyed a very stunning route that takes in Durlston, Worth Matravers, Kingston, passing above Kimmeridge to the deserted Tyneham Village, Creech, Corfe Castle and back to finish on the seafront at Swanage. Sharp-eyed runners and spectators would have also spotted the last ocean-going paddle steamer Waverley calling at Swanage as part of its trip along The Jurassic Coast.
A new finish line on Sandpit Field looking out to sea also worked very well with far more space available and more runners staying behind for the presentations.
Rose Clarke, Race Director for The Purbeck Marathon, said, “The Purbeck Marathon is a very tough event and is certainly not for the faint-hearted. However, so many of the runners were still smiling when they crossed the line and were quick to thank the organisers and other volunteers. One runner who had travelled all the way from Northern Ireland noted that The Purbeck Marathon was not the best in the UK but the best in Europe. We made a number of improvements for 2014 and we will be looking to improve further next year.
The organisers have already started planning the next event which is scheduled for Sunday 16 September 2015. Entries will be available from 15 October through www.thepurbeckmarathon.co.uk.
The marathon is a community event, put on by volunteers in order to share our favourite runs with you and to raise much needed funds for local charities and good causes.
© Photographs by Gavin Gardner