Entry record smashed as international field heads to the Bungay Festival of Running

The Bungay Black Dog Marathon is staged this weekend Picture: Archant

The Bungay Black Dog Marathon is staged this weekend Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

The Bungay Festival of Running, incorporating the Bungay Black Dog Marathon, has attracted a record number of entries ahead of Sunday's starting gun.

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.

The four events have attracted almost 1,200 entries, well ahead of the previous best.

Race director Bob Paul said: 'We're really looking forward to one of the biggest days in the club's history. It's a record entry and staged for the first time from the home of the Bungay Black Dog Running Club.

'Our marathon is one of the longest-established in the country, and by staging several other races there is a distance for everyone.

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'It's also a big day on the Bungay sporting calendar, bringing many visitors to the town on an otherwise quiet day.'

Runners are coming from all over the country and abroad, including Sweden, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Spain, and Korea. 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 Athletic Club, in 2:39:30. The female record holder is Susan Harrison, of Leamington C & AC, who clocked 2:56:19 in 2011.

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

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.

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

For the 11th year proceeds from the race will benefit the NSPCC, with the Beccles and Bungay Community Transport also benefiting this year.

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