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Stuart Hopes for a Hat-trick at Beachy Head Marathon
Marathon runner Stuart Mills hopes to go the distance at this year’s Beachy Head Marathon, with a hat-trick of wins on Saturday 23rd October in Eastbourne.
Marathon runner Stuart Mills hopes to go the distance at this year’s Beachy Head Marathon, with a hat-trick of wins on Saturday 23rd October in Eastbourne.

The first to cross the finish line for the last two years, Stuart hopes to repeat his success for a third time this year across the challenging 26 mile route along the South Downs coast and countryside.

Originally from New Zealand, but now living in Eastbourne, Stuart completed the challenging route in 3 hours and 7 minutes last year, however it was a close run finish, with the top three runners crossing the finish line within a minute of each other.

Stuart said “The marathon course is very scenic but also very demanding. The last eight miles across the Seven Sisters and up to Beachy Head last year was particularly tough, with my pace slowing dramatically. I was lucky to 'hang on' to finish first. My training is going well this year, so hopefully I will not fatigue as much, and therefore be able to appreciate the views as I run over this section of the course towards the finish."

The Beachy Head Marathon which starts in Eastbourne is now taking entries with 1,500 runners, joggers and walkers expected at this popular sporting fixture.

Supported by the Healthy Lifestyle Tourism Project and one of the most challenging marathon’s in the sporting calendar thanks to the steep undulating hills of the South Downs, the event last year attracted participants from Europe and the USA. The event was also voted by readers of Runners World magazine, as one of the top three marathons in the UK.

Organisers Eastbourne Borough Council, enjoyed a bumper year of entries last year, however with places limited to 1,500 participants and over half of the places already gone, entrants are being advised to enter early this year to avoid disappointment.

Even though a majority of the participants are from running clubs all over the UK, training on the challenging local terrain obviously helps local runners, as the first lady past the finish line last year was also from Eastbourne. Julia Armstrong completed in 3 hours and 31 minutes and again hopes to repeat her success this year.

Julia said “It was a wonderful experience, very uplifting. The support was wonderful. I loved all the food stations and the helpers were so supportive. Hearing Joe the Piper at the top of the steps in Westdean gave me a real surge of well-being."

Both participants and spectators can look forward to stunning scenery as the picturesque route passes through Cuckmere Haven, along the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs and past national beauty spot Beachy Head. Visitors will also be able to follow the route passing through traditional Sussex villages, Friston Forest and the guardian of the South Downs, the Long Man of Wilmington.

Eastbourne Borough Council Spokesman for Tourism, Councillor David Elkin said “We look forward to welcoming all participants to Eastbourne in October for what is one of the most beautiful marathon courses in the UK. With a strong entry already and with many participants bringing family and friends, we can expect a busy weekend for the town.”

The Beachy Head Marathon starts and finishes at St Bedes School, Dukes Drive, Eastbourne on Saturday 23rd October at 9am. Entry costs £16 for participants and includes food and refreshments throughout the day, including bananas sponsored by Fyffes and a medal for everyone completing the route.

To enter the marathon or volunteer as a marshall e-mail Nicola Williams at nicola@williams2001.ndo.co.uk or mail a stamped addressed envelope to BHM, PO Box 2608, Eastbourne, BN20 8DZ or telephone the Events Office on 01323 415442.

For more information on Eastbourne visit www.visiteastbourne.com or telephone 01323 411400.
02 July, 2004

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