Sunday’s Bungay Festival of Running will be a record-breaker

Bungay Black Dogs Running Club were well represented at Sunday's Manchester Marathon Picture: KEN HU

Bungay Black Dogs Running Club were well represented at Sunday's Manchester Marathon Picture: KEN HURST - Credit: Archant

The Bungay Festival of Running, incorporating the Bungay Black Dog Marathon, takes place on Sunday and entries are at a record high.

This year the event is based, for the first time, at the Bungay Black Dog Running Club’s new base at Pirnhow Street, Ditchingham, and also for the first time, as well as the marathon, half-marathon and 10k races, there will be a 5k race too.

And over the four there are already nearly 1,200 entries, well up on the previous best.

Said race director Bob Paul: “We’re really looking forward to one of the biggest days in the club’s history. Our marathon is one of the longest-established in the country, and by staging several other races there is a distance for everyone. It’s also a big day on the Bungay sporting calendar, bringing many visitors to the town.”

Runners competing will come from all over the country and abroad. They include Swede Jonas Ericssen, now 66, who set the full marathon old course record 34 years ago in 1985 with a time of two hours, 29 minutes three seconds. The current course record was set in 2016 by Matthew Jeffries, of Waveney Valley AC, in 2:39.30. The female record holder is Susan Harrison, of Leamington C&AC, who clocked 2:56.19 in 2011.

This is the 37th year of the full marathon, first staged in 1982, and the half-marathon. The 10k was added three years ago and this year there is a 5k.

The marathon and half-marathon are part of the Ryans Suffolk Grand Prix Series, with runners competing over a course on both sides of the Waveney Valley via Mettingham, Shipmeadow, Barsham, Beccles, Gillingham, Geldeston, Ellingham and Broome – with the full event taking in two laps of the picturesque circuit.

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Back at the base, there will be a family fun run covering about 800m, with entries on the day.

There will be full facilities at the site, including baggage handling, changing tents, food and refreshments, while Julie Ash will lead a warm-up session for those in the half-marathon.

For all events, races will be started and prizes presented by the Town Reeve of Bungay, Sylvia Knights, and Town Mayor Mick Lincoln.

Event sponsors again include Adnams, M&H Plastics, Bungay Town Council, Rotary, Co op Travel Beccles, and the Central England Coop. For the 11th year proceeds from the race will benefit the NSPCC, with the Beccles and Bungay Community Transport also benefiting this year.

The organisers are appealing to visitors not to park unsocially in Ditchingham and Brome. Official parking is at Bungay Common, Waveney Trucks, Clay’s, and Waveney District Council car parks in town, with BACT running a free shuttle service to the site.