A couple will get married during the Beachy Head marathon – in a romantic first for the event this weekend.
The runners, Luretta Spearing and Jon Sharkey, will tie the knot mid-way along the epic 26.2 mile route Saturday (October 26).
The keen runners will pause at 9.5 miles through the marathon in the village of Alfristion, before rejoining the course to complete their once-in-a-lifetime wedding sprint at one of the UK’s biggest off road races.
The couple, from Wimborne in Dorset, will celebrate their big day with family and friends after crossing the finish line together for the first time as husband and wife, with wedding cake and a glass of bubbly at the marathon’s reception centre in Bede’s School.
Luretta and Jon, who have been together for six years and have a three-year-old son, also a keen runner, met through marathon running many years ago and became firm friends, before dating some time later.
Luretta said, “We wanted our wedding to be about us, and what better way than doing the thing we both love.
“We were engaged for over a year before a conversation one evening led us to question if it would be possible to get married mid marathon.
“As I had already entered the Beachy Head Marathon, it being one of my favourite marathons, we thought it would be a good choice. A few enquiries were made and three days later everything was booked!
“We thought we’d have a quiet wedding but many friends decided it would be fun to join us so we’re really excited to be celebrating with our closest family and friends.”
The happy couple will have to overcome an eye-watering 300 steps, 14 gates and the equivalent elevation of 1,318m along their epic wedding route, all while passing through magnificent South Downs National Park coastal scenery.
Taking in the picturesque villages of Alfriston, Litlington and Jevington, the route also passes through the Cuckmere Valley, Seven Sisters, Friston Forest and Beachy Head.
Around 3,000 runners will be joining the couple along their epic run with entries from around the globe, including The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Czech Republic, Belgium, Australia and even Hawaii!
The marathon begins at 9am on Saturday from the start/finish line at Bede’s School. The 10k starts at 10am, running to Belle Tout and back. Marathon finishers are expected from midday, with the last participants back by 6pm.
The Brighton & Hove Buses Coaster route covers many viewing spots along the way and the Seven Sisters Visitor Centre and Beachy Head offering the best viewing spots with car parking, refreshments and toilets.
Road closures will be in operation on Dukes Drive, Upper Dukes Drive and in the village of Litlington for safety reasons, with access to businesses maintained.
Beachy Head Marathon is sponsored by Euro Self Drive, Bede’s Prep School and GU Energy. To volunteer along the route call 01323 415442 or email Julie.Paul@lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk.
Entries have already opened for the Beachy Head Marathon 2020, with a new Half Marathon race added to its current line-up.
For more information visit www.beachyheadmarathon.co.uk.