Plans in motion for marathon's 40th anniversary

The Bungay Black Dog Marathon 2017. 10K runners making their way past Holy Trinity Church in Bungay.

The Bungay Black Dog Marathon 2017. 10K runners making their way past Holy Trinity Church in Bungay. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Athletes from across East Anglia are dusting off their running shoes ahead of the long-awaited return of a town's popular marathon.

Preparations are in full swing for the 40th anniversary of the Bungay Black Dog Marathon in April.

The event, part of the Bungay Festival of Running, was first held in 1982 but hasn't been staged since 2019 because of the pandemic.

The Black Dog Marathon in Bungay in April 1983 Picture: ARCHANT

The Black Dog Marathon in Bungay in April 1983 Picture: ARCHANT

Tony Morley, one of the festival organisers, said: "We are quite proud because we are one of the oldest UK marathons still going, and it's quite a challenging route too.

"Some of our club and volunteers have been with us since the 1980s, and some of those who ran some of the very first marathons will be back to start this year's race.

"We are trying to have a nod back to those halcyon days for our 40th anniversary."

The course involves two laps of a 13.1 mile loop through the Waveney Valley, starting and ending at Bungay Area Running Centre on Pirnhow Street, Ditchingham.

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As well as the main event, the festival, on Sunday, April 10, will also include a half marathon, 10km and 5km races, and a fun run.

Mr Morley said: "There are a lot of people who are quite looking forward to getting back to racing after the two-year hiatus through lockdown.

"These days it is much more than just a lot of sweaty runners in short shorts.

"With everything we've got going on there is much more of a festival vibe.

"We've got our own space at the running centre now which is our own mini-Latitude to get the place dressed up for the occasion."

Bungay Black Dog Running Club Marathon 2014
The Half Marathon

Bungay Black Dog Running Club Marathon 2014 The Half Marathon - Credit: Nick Butcher

The team are now hoping to bounce back from two years of cancellations.

Mr Morley said: "It can be quite difficult coming back after an absence like that.

"Some people who you may have counted on in recent years to help out have naturally found other things to do while we've been away.

bungay marathon

Bungay Black Dog Running Club Marathon 2014. The Half Marathon - Credit: Nick Butcher

"But there are a lot of people still around, and it's always interesting to see ex-runners now in their 70s or 80s and hear their stories and realise they were quite serious athletes back in their day.

"It is amazing to look back on the old photos from the first events and see guys with tashes and cotton t-shirts running in plimsoles rather than £250 Nike trainers."