Ulverston will host the inaugural Hoad Hill Marathon on Sunday, August 9, 2015.
The event will see the iconic Sir John Barrow Monument transformed into a drinks station for tired participants and will be one of the highlights of a route that takes in some of the area’s favourite beauty spots.
Up to 500 runners will be taking part in the event with half taking on the full 26.2 mile challenge and the rest completing an alternative half-marathon course.
Event director Gaynor Prior said Ulverston was the perfect venue for the annual event. She said: “It’s the festival town isn’t it, so a festival of running was all that was missing. People will be staying in B&Bs, eating and shopping in the town.”
The marathon, sponsored by Siemens, will complement regular sporting events which have brought visitors to the town in recent years including the cycling festival and the Ulverston Sprint Triathlon.
Ralph Spours, chairman of the Ulverston Traders Association said: “Everything like this is a boost to the traders, more and more things are happening in Ulverston. The anticipation for a successful year this year is very high because we’ve got the cycling event and all the other regular events as well.”
Rob O’Hara of Sefton House, a guest house in Queen Street, welcomed the move. He said: “Events like this have an impact on business. This will especially be because people who travel to run a marathon tend to want to stay over. It’s very positive.”
Runners will start at Ford Park before heading to Birkrigg Common, along the Cumbria Coastal Way and Ulverston Canal towpath.
The route then returns to Ford Park where participants will face a gruelling climb up Hoad Hill before heading to Lowick High Common and back to Ford Park for the finish.
Ms Prior said: “There’s lots of great views of south Cumbria countryside and across Morecambe Bay and quite a few cheeky hills. It’s going to be challenging but the time limits are really long to encourage people of all abilities.”
During the day, activities will be available in Ford Park including children’s races, a live band and a miniature beer festival.
Wayne Singleton, head of training and development at Siemens in Ulverston, said: “As one of the town’s major employers, when we first found out about it we were really keen to get involved. There’s nothing like it happening in the town so it’s good to be able to bring in an event like this.”
More information about the Hoad Hill Marathon is available at www.pureoutdoorsevents.co.uk
Image: The start of the 2014 Brathay Marathon © CN Media
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