More than 400 runners lined up at Heathfield Community Centre for the start of the Sussex Marathon on Sunday morning.
About 150 had signed for the full 26 mile marathon plus its 30 mile add-on option and the remainder for a half marathon – both run along a course organisers admitted was ‘challenging but exceptionally beautiful.’
The route took them from Heathfield via Rushlake Green and Punnetts Town before returning to Heathfield – where full marathon runners completed a further circuit
Overall winner was Paul Navesey, 26, from Haywards Heath who belongs to Crawley Athletic Club and finished the course in two hours, 52 minutes and 34 seconds. Second was a Heathfield Roadrunners member, James Cox.
First woman home was Sophie Saberi who holds the world record for the Lands End to John O’Groats run and holds the female record for the Double Badwater Ultramarathon in the US, described as the hottest race in the world. Mimi Anderson came in second.
Funds were raised for dozens of charities including Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Children with Cancer, Team Macmillan and the National Autistic Society.
Runners and supporters praised the organisation of the event.
Overall organiser Paul Holdaway from Bexhill based TL Sports Events said: “This is our third year and the second time the race has been run from Heathfield. The Parish Council has been behind us all the way. It’s won a reputation as a challenging race and people flock to take part. We are already laying plans for next year.”