Black Dog Marathon attracting huge field

AROUND 800 runners could be pounding the roads of the Waveney Valley this weekend as the annual Bungay Black Dog Marathon takes place.

The first marathon of the running season has again attracted entries from all over the country, and currently there are nearly 276 set for the full marathon and 460 for the half-marathon.

With late entries taken on the day, and good weather, Sunday’s popular event could see the total figure of those taking part – including the fun run – approach 1,000.

The race starts and finishes at the Maltings Meadow at Ditchingham and it should be another good challenge for the runners around the picturesque course taking in Bungay, Mettingham, Shipmeadow, Barsham, Beccles, Gillingham, Geldeston, Ellingham and Broome.

It is a 13-mile course which the full marathon entrants will run twice.

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Last year full marathon winner Steve Prosser, of Bishop’s Stortford Running Club, set a new course record of 2-44:43 to beat Carl Prewer’s 2007 mark of 2-46:59, and if conditions are right that record could be challenged again.

The race committee is still waiting to hear whether Prosser will be there to challenge again, but Prewer has already entered in a bid to get his record back.

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The first woman home last year was Maggie Fenn, of Vale Royal, in 3-07:57. In the half marathon, Paul Holley, of Newmarket Joggers, finished first in 1-14:22, with Jane Davies, of Reading Joggers, the first woman home in a time of 1-31:11.

Again the organisers of the British Association of Road Races-graded event are providing the full range of facilities at the Maltings, with baggage handling, before and after massage, stream-lined registration and numbering, chip-timing and rapid results service and goodie bags for finishers in all the races.

There are also full refreshment and showering facilities at the Maltings Pavilion. Car parking will be well sign-posted, and people should be aware of traffic hold-ups, particularly around the start of each race.

The NSPCC is again the nominated charity to receive the proceeds of the event — it has received a five-figure sum in each of the last two years — and the charity’s impressive finishing arch will again dominate the site and provide a welcome beacon for the runners.

NSPCC T-shirts, with the race logo on them, will again be on sale alongside other merchandise.

A huge team of volunteers is needed to help the event run smoothly and again over 100 will be there, managing the facilities on site, marshalling along the route and manning water stations set up at regular intervals.

Road closures will be set up at the top of Bridge street, Bungay, the Watch House corner at Beccles Road, and Bridge Road, Beccles to ensure route safety for competitors.

Registration opens at 8.30am, with last entries for the marathon up to 9.45am and for the half-marathon up to 11.45am.

The full marathon starts at 10.30am and the half-marathon at 12.30pm, with the fun run — on a route around the meadow — timed for 11am.

Races will be started by the Mayor, Simon Woods, and prizes will be presented by the Town Reeve, the Rev Roger Allen, and Bungay NSPCC committee chairman Patrick Bradley.

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