Close to 200 runners competed in the second Lewes marathon on Sunday (March 13), doubling last year’s turnout.
The 26.2-mile off-road event, named the Moyleman, drew participants from Sussex, across the country and overseas.
The race, which kicked off at 10am, started at Landport Bottom and took in Blackcap, Kingston Ridge and Firle Beacon, ending with a climb over Mount Caburn, through Cliffe High Street and into Harveys Brewery Yard.
First to cross the finish line was last year’s runner-up, Lewes AC runner Chris Gilbert, who led from the race’s early stages, in 3:02:57. Second home was Paul Russhard in 3:16:08 and Matthew Dowse took third place in 3:23:43.
Helen Sida, also a Lewes AC runner, was the first woman home and ninth overall. She set a new women’s record for the course with her time of 3:42:44.
Entrants could also opt to race as a relay team of two, completing a half-marathon each, switching over at Southease. Mike Green and Shane Duncan were the first pair to finish with their combined time of 3:22:03.
Race director Ashley Head, who led the organising team of six, was pleased with the turnout: “We are thrilled to have doubled our entry this year – and we have been so impressed with the spirit with which our runners approached the day.
“We had excellent marshals, support bikes and volunteers who once again make the run such a very special day for all of us.
“With the wholehearted support of Harveys, the River Clinic and Circa Events, we are able to offer a uniquely Lewesian welcome to runners far and wide. We can show everyone the fantastic spirit of the people here, the beautiful but demanding downland countryside and the very best Lewes can offer.”
More than 30 volunteers marshalled the course, offering water and encouragement, while lead bikers and tail bikers ensured the event was safe.
As part of the marathon’s tradition, runners were offered a post-race pint at the finish area courtesy Harveys Brewery.
Rather than a medal, participants were awarded with a pint glass, or half pint for relay runners, embossed with Moyleman 2016.
At the finish area massages were available from the River Clinic and food from Circa Events, both free for runners.
The race organisers also received support from Lewes District Council, and farmer Phillip Pile allowed access through private land to give runners a safe route under the A27 at Firle.
The marathon began in 2014 with a test event with a dozen runners; the first official race took place last year with almost 100 entrants.
It was named the Moyleman in memory of Brighton runner Chris Moyle, who died, aged 42, in 2009, and who inspired Mr Head and many others with his love of tough downland runs. For the second year Chris’s sister Camilla Moyle took part in the event.
A spokesperson said that the race organisers are now looking forward to March 2017 and to ensuring the marathon is a fixture in the Lewes calendar for years to come.
Unless otherwise stated, photographs taken by James McCauley
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