Fundraising runners were able to get back in action on Sunday, September 27 as North Devon Hospice was able to stage its first live event for many months.
The annual North Devon Marathon and Half Marathon was able to take place at Woolacombe to provide a vital boost to the charity, which has seen its fundraising hugely restricted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The event was of course held in a greatly pared-back fashion, with strict safety measures in place following government guidance and UK Athletics rules.
But runners still enjoyed tackling the famously tough course, which is revered as one of the most scenic in the country.
It starts and finishes in Woolacombe, taking runners on a tough but beautiful route including Baggy Point, Croyde beach, Saunton, Morte Point and Lee.
The winner of the men’s half-marathon was Ronnie Richmond of Bideford AAC in a time of 1 hour 24 minutes, while the women’s winner, Kristina Kucar from London, came home in 1.56.
The men’s marathon was won by Kyle Darragh of Barnstaple in 3.49, while the women’s marathon winner, Lisa Binmore also of Barnstaple, clocked a time of 4.14.
Jess Burford Redgrove at the hospice said: “This year has been a challenge like no other for North Devon Hospice.
“The turmoil has meant most fundraising activities have been impossible, and our shops have also closed for a significant period.
“The funds raised by runners on Sunday are a first step to recovery, but at the same time there is still a long road ahead.
“There’s no sugar-coating the situation, because these will be tough times for North Devon Hospice and we will need the support of the local community more than ever, as we continue to care for local people in their darkest hour.”
Race director, Simon Oliver, added: “We’d like to thank everyone who made this happen so smoothly and safely.
“It was a huge undertaking, but we’re grateful to all the runners who signed up to show their support of the hospice.
“Despite the event having to be half the size it normally is, every pound raised by those who took part is absolutely vital.”
Find out how you can help at northdevonhospice.org.uk .