Everything you need to know about the Beachy Head Marathon events

Spectators are being encouraged to show their support for runners taking part in the Beachy Head Marathon, half marathon and 10K.

The three events - all getting underway on the seafront in Dukes Drive at the start of the South Downs Way - take place this month and are for people of all abilities.

Approximately 4,000 runners are expected to take part in the three events, according to Eastbourne Borough Council.

A council spokesperson said, “Due to Covid-19 and lockdowns, many events in 2020 were held without the public cheering on participants. This year – with the easing of restrictions – spectators can line the routes and support those taking part while maintaining social distancing.”

Beachy Head Marathon. Picture from Anthony Bliss SUS-210610-183613001

Spectators are asked to take lateral flow tests before attending.

The spokesperson said, “The Beachy Head Marathon – starting at 8am on Saturday, October 23 - is one the biggest off-road marathons in the UK and the 26.2 mile route takes in villages of Alfriston, Litlington and Jevington, also passing through the Cuckmere Valley, Seven Sisters, Friston Forest and Beachy Head.”

The course includes 300 steps, 14 gates and the equivalent elevation of 1,318m along the South Downs National Park route, according to the council.

The spokesperson added, “The Brighton and Hove Buses Coaster route covers many viewing spots along the way and the Seven Sisters Visitor Centre and Beachy Head offer the best viewing spots with car parking, refreshments and toilets.”

Road closures will be in operation in Dukes Drive, Upper Dukes Drive and in the village of Litlington on October 23 for safety reasons, with access to businesses maintained.

Participants are all expected back by 5pm.

The spokesperson said, “The Beachy Head Half - now in its second year - is at 8.30am on Sunday, October 17.

“The route will encompass much of the marathon route but detours into other scenic locations with amazing picturesque scenery – Butts Brow, Friston, Crowlink, Birling Gap, Belle Tout and Beachy Head.

“Runners are all expected back by 12.30pm.

“The 10k run on Sunday, October 24 will set off at 9am with a route comprising of breath-taking views and challenges, taking a shorter looping route across the Downs to Belle Tout Lighthouse and back.”

The council’s lead member for tourism and culture councillor Margaret Bannister said, “Marathons, runs and many other events over the last 18 months have been very difficult for all those involved due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions.

“So, this year we want to encourage spectators to go along and spur on the participants in the three runs while socially distancing.

“The power of spectators should not be underestimated, they might be there to cheer on a family member or friend but ultimately they end up cheering everyone and that can make such a difference to those running the course. It’s such a lift for them to have the support of spectators.

“These three events are set against the backdrop of Eastbourne’s stunning seafront and coastline and there’s plenty of locations for spectators to cheer on runners”.