Familiar faces scoop the honours on Sunday as 750 take on gruelling long-distance courses

North Devon AONB Marathon 2017.North Devon AONB Marathon 2017.

The North Devon AONB Marathon returned on Sunday, with 750 runners descending on Woolacombe.

The event, which raises money for North Devon Hospice, is now in its eighth year, and runners enjoyed fine conditions for both the full and half marathons.

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

The full marathon was won by Rob Weekes, scooping first place for the second consecutive year after an impromptu entry on the day of the race. He finished with a time of 3hrs, 15mins and 50secs.

North Devon AONB Marathon 2017.North Devon AONB Marathon 2017.

Weekes said: “I’m based in Yorkshire now but used to live here so I know the area well.

“I didn’t know what sort of shape I was in and only decided to enter on the day. So I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.”

Ilfracombe Running Club’s Mary Menon was the first female home, taking first place a week after winning the Red Bull Steeplechase.

She crossed the line in 3hrs, 33mins and 12secs, beating her 2016 time by five miutes.

North Devon AONB Marathon 2017.North Devon AONB Marathon 2017.

The half marathon was won by London Frontrunners’ Shaun Whelan.

Whelan conquered the steep inclines in 1hr, 29mins and 2secs.

Jane Faran of Bristol’s Southville Running Club was the first female to finish the half, crossing the line in 1hr, 38mins and 54secs.

The race is hoped to raise £30,000 for North Devon Hospice, helping the local charity care for people affected by cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

North Devon AONB Marathon 2017.North Devon AONB Marathon 2017.

Kate Kilburn, part of the hospice’s fundraising team, said: “We support more than 2,000 people every year, all of whom are facing the impact of a life-limiting illness like cancer.

“North Devon Hospice not only cares for patients, but the whole family too.

“However, we can only do this thanks to the support of the local community at events like this.

“Thank you to all who took part or helped out, because the funds raised will make a real difference to the lives of local people.”

Race organiser Simon Oliver said: “It is always a pleasure to see so many runners coming to enjoy our stunning little corner of the world.

“It is a real challenge so huge congratulations go out to all who completed either the half or the full marathon distance.”