Plans announced to hold a new marathon in north Norfolk

The stunning grounds of the Holkham Estate, beautiful scenery of the North Norfolk Coast Path and quaint seaside town of Wells will provide the setting for a new marathon to be held this year.

Organiser Jodie McCallum plans to make it a landmark annual event for Norfolk and hopes that it will attract interest from around the country.

The race will be held on May 13, two and a half months before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and Mrs McCallum, 26, from Wells, hopes Olympic fever will encourage interest.

She said: 'I want this to be a really big event. Everyone will be buzzing about the Olympics this year and there will be more people wanting to go out and take part in sports so I hope this will have a big impact on this marathon.

'If it is successful it will attract people to north Norfolk for years to come, which is good news for businesses in the area.'

It will be called the North Norfolk Marathon and will raise money for two charities; East Anglia's Children's Hospices (Each) and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.

There will also be a half-marathon and a mini-marathon for children aged five to 16 on the day.

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Children between five and eight will run a 1k race, nine to 12-year-olds will run 2.5k and 13 to 16-year-olds will do 5k.

The marathon will start and finish in front of Holkham Hall. Runners will travel through parklands on the Holkham Estate and down to the North Norfolk Coast Path into Wells.

There will then be a loop around Wells and runners will re-enter the Holkham Estate through the East Gate before running around the estate and back to the start area.

This 13.1-mile lap will be done once by people taking part in the half marathon and twice for those doing the full marathon.

Mrs McCallum, who coaches at the North Norfolk Triathlon Club and has been organising triathlons and duathlons around Norfolk for five years, said: 'I chose this area because it is a beautiful location.

'It is a unique setting for a marathon and should be a great experience for people taking part.

'I have to finalise a few details about where exactly the runners will be going in Wells but they will definitely be running along the harbour.'

She added: 'I'm expecting a mix of experienced club runners and fun runners and I want there to be a festival atmosphere with people running stalls and a big crowd of people cheering the runners on.

'I hope to get at least 200 runners this year and then more as the event becomes more established.

'I organise the Wells Triathlon and that has become so popular over the years that it has now reached its capacity for entries.

'It attracts runners from Scotland and Wales and all over the country, so that gives me belief that this event will become a big success.'

Anyone wishing to take part in the marathon, half-marathon or mini-marathon can enter by going to the website, then ticking the box for 'runs' on the menu at the top of the screen and clicking on the link for North Norfolk Marathon, Half-Marathon and Mini-Marathon.

The deadline for all entries is May 6.

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