The North Devon AONB Marathon and Half Marathon returns next year, with entries now open for the 10th anniversary event.

The 2019 races, which raise money for North Devon Hospice, will take place on June 30, with participants encouraged to secure their spot early.

There are already four entrants signed up for a guaranteed place on the start line – event organisers the Oliver family, who will be running the race for the first time.

The event was the brainchild of Simon Oliver, whose love of running around the North Devon coast around Woolacombe inspired him to organise the race, ably assisted by his family.

Simon will be on the start line alongside his wife Nicola and sons Ross and Lee.

“I’m really proud to have introduced so many people to our fabulous coastline through this event.” said Simon.

“Around 8,000 runners have taken part over the years and they have come from far and wide, often with their whole families too, so that has given North Devon some fantastic exposure.

“I’m very excited that I actually get to run the race this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary, although I’m a bit nervous because the course is extremely tough!”

Nicola added: “While Simon is a seasoned runner, myself and boys are more at home in the surf. So this will be a test for us all, but one we’re really looking forward to.

“As much as anything, we are all proud to be part of something that has raised so much for North Devon Hospice down the years.”

Starting and finishing in Woolacombe, the race takes on a figure-of-eight course, with some daunting hills.

The 2018 race took place in soaring temperatures, with Keith MacIntosh of Wimbledon Windmilers crossing the line first. Ilfracombe Running Club’s Mary Menon was the ladies winner.

John Parker of Cheltenham Harriers Running Club and Jane Faram of Southville Running Club conquered the half-marathon routes.

You can enter the North Devon AONB Marathon or Half Marathon by visiting www.northdevonmarathon.co.uk.