Annual Barnstaple marathon officially launched

Barnstaple Mayor Cllr Lesly Brown, NDRR Secretary Simon Haywood and Chairman Alan Talmage and North

Barnstaple Mayor Cllr Lesly Brown, NDRR Secretary Simon Haywood and Chairman Alan Talmage and North Devon RMA Chairman John Peel were joined by marines and members of North Devon Road Runners to lauch the town's new annual marathon - Credit: Archant

Get ready for next year’s inaugral event, in support of RMB Chivenor

An annual Barnstaple marathon to support the RMB Chivenor Memorial Garden has been launched today (Wednesday) by many of those behind making it happen.

Barnstaple Mayor Cllr Lesley Brown, Royal Marine Association branch chairman John Peel, North Devon Road Runners secretary Simon Haywood and a plethora of marines and NDRR members were out in force this morning to officially launch the new race, as revealed in this week’s Gazette.

The event has been organised by NDRR with the support of the North Devon branch of the RMA, and the inaugural race will take place on September 28, 2014.

The race will start and finish at Rock Park in Barnstaple and will incorporate sections of the Tarka Trail and pass around the airfield perimeter road at RMB Chivenor. As well as the full 26-mile race, there will also be a half marathon on the same day.

This very flat, very fast course will provide a thrilling race for competitors young and old and should bring a large number of people to the area at the back-end of the summer season.

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Mrs Brown was very positive about the impacts the event could have on the town.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” she said. “I think it will bring the town together and also bring people from further afield who don’t have the chance to compete.

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“Most big towns have one and it is long overdue here. It’s great to link it up with Chivenor as well.”

NDRR secretary Simon Haywood said: “I think that the fact a town of the population of Barnstaple hasn’t had a marathon until now is a bit strange.

“It’s a real treat for us to be able to arrange this and we are very proud to support RMB Chivenor.

“It’s a privilege to be allowed to run around the perimeter at Chivenor. We’re incredibly grateful and thrilled to make a donation to the memorial garden.”

Mr Haywood was also keen to point out the benefits of the route, which will be one of the flattest and fastest in the country.

“It’s the perfect marathon for beginners and people looking to beat their personal best.”

Organisers are hoping to see around 500 runners lining up for the first race, but want to see that rise beyond 1,000 in five years.

RMA branch chairman John Peel said they were ‘very much keen’ to get involved in the event.

“It’s great to be asked to come and support this,” he said.

“The public in the area are great in the way they donate. The region has donated around £85,000 to the North Devon branch in the last five years.”

And for three NDRR member’s, next year’s marathon will be their first – despite being over 60.

Jenny Stone, Joyce Mulholland and Margaret Beades, who is running the half marathon, hope that their willingness to enter can inspire others to do the same.

“Hopefully we can inspire a few people, as we’re of an age where some people think they can’t run it,” said Jenny.

Margaret said it was the challenge which lured her to sign up, while Joyce admitted that signing up to the full marathon brought a few nerves with it.

For more information and to sign up for the full or half marathon, visit

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