Running gearing up for Bungay test

WITH just over a week to go before the Bungay Black Dog marathon, entries are coming in at a steady rate.

So far 257 runners have entered the full marathon and 367 the half-marathon, figures which compare well to entries at the same stage last year. The marathon committee of the Bungay Black Dog Running Club is confident that the final totals, including the fun run, will mean between 900 to 1,000 people will be taking part in the event’s 29th year on Sunday, April 10.

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

Last year marathon winner Steve Prosser, of Bishop’s Stortford Running Club, set a new course record of two hours, 44 minutes 43 seconds 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.

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.

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Once again the organisers 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. It is a British Association of Road Races graded event.

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 once 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.

Race director Bob Paul said this week: “Everything is in place for another great event.

“Runners come from all over the country to Bungay to take part in what is recognised as one of the best organised events of its kind. Residents come out along the route to encourage the runners, and it is a great advert for Bungay and district.”

The full marathon starts at 10.30am and the half-marathon at 12.30pm, with the fun – on a route around the meadow – timed for 11am. Facilities at the meadow open at 8.30am.

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