Bumper turnout is on the cards again for Bungay’s annual festival of running

The Bungay Black Dog Marathon returns this weekend.
Picture: James Bass

The Bungay Black Dog Marathon returns this weekend. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2016

Serious and fun runners will be converging on Bungay at the weekend as the Bungay Black Dog Marathon takes place.

More than 1,000 runners will be taking part in the full marathon, half-marathon and 10k races, and there will also be a family fun run.

The main race, the marathon, with around 250 competitors, starts at 9am from Maltings Meadow, with the 10k starting at 9.30am and the half-marathon at 11am. The fun run will start at 9.45am.

The marathon course takes runners on a picturesque route through Bungay and out to Mettingham, Shipmeadow, Barsham and into Beccles, and home on the Norfolk side of the Waveney Valley through Gillingham, Geldeston, Ellingham and Broome.

Ten Bungay Black Dog Running Club members will be running the marathon, among them veteran runner Bob Jack, who will be running his 100th marathon.

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Given good conditions, course records could be under threat. The full marathon record was set last year by Matthew Jeffries, of Waveney Valley AC, with 2:39.30. The female course record, set by Susan Harrison of Leamington at 2:56.19, has stood for six years.

The half-marathon records are of longer standing. Kevin Murphy, of Woodford Green, set the record of 1:11.55 11 years ago. In 2006, while Jennie Roberts, of Ipswich Jaffa, set the female mark of 1:20.58 in 2008.

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A team of around 100 volunteers will be helping to ensure the event goes smoothly and sets Bungay in a good light for runners who come from all over the country. They act as marshals, man water stations, cover many duties at the Maltings Meadow base, and hand out medals and goody bags at the end.

Since it was established in 1982 the Bungay Marathon has become recognised as one of the best organised and most friendly in the UK.

This year it will once again be supporting the NSPCC, and the Beccles and Bungay Community Transport organisation. The races will be started and prizes presented by the Mayor of Bungay, John Groom, and the Town Reeve, Mary Sprake.

Race director Bob Paul said the event had again received generous sponsorship from a number of organisations, including Adnams, the Co-op, M & H Plastics, and Essex & Suffolk Water.

Refreshment facilities will be available at Maltings Meadow for supporters throughout the day.

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