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Go on, Graham! World Champ qualifier runs 10th marathon at Eden

Seasoned marathon runner Graham Bale crossed the Eden Marathon finish line in third place today, (Sunday October 15), on his way to the World Championship.

Eden Marathon 2023

Eden Marathan men's top 3

Eden Marathon 2023

Graham, 58, from Plymouth, who runs with Plymstock Road Runners, is competing in Sydney, Australia, as part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) Wanda Age Group World Championship 2024.

After finishing with a time of 03:02:09, Graham said: “This is my first semi-trail marathon. I’ve done eight marathons in London and one in Manchester, so this is my tenth.

“I did London earlier this year - that was my fastest time. I thought I’ll just do another one to keep the fitness going.”

The fastest man in the Eden Marathon was Steve Reynolds, 37, from Truro who runs with Truro Running Club, finishing with a time of 02:50:54. Steve was making his return to the event, having last participated in 2021.

Finishing second place in the Marathon was Marc Smerdon, 32, from Bodmin. Marc, who finished with a time of 03:01:37 and runs with St Austell Athletes Running Club, is one of the event’s most decorated runners, with this year marking his seventh top three position across the Eden Half and full Marathon.

The fastest woman in this year’s Eden Marathon was Sarah Reel, 27 from Falmouth, who runs with Falmouth RRC and finished with a time of 03:28:22.

Sarah said: “I started running during lockdown and Eden was my first marathon last year. My goal was just to beat the time I did, but it turns out I’ve had very good training from the running club, shout out to Robin who helped me!

“It was a lovely route, the weather was grand, it’s been perfect.”

The second fastest woman was Rebecca ‘Rebel’ Gilbert, 40, from Exeter. Rebecca, finished with a time of 03:48:40 and is affiliated with the Exeter Triathlon Club.

Third placed woman was Claire Fisher, finishing with a time of 04:01:37. Claire is from Stourbridge and runs with Victoria Park Harriers & Tower Hamlets AC.

In the Half Marathon, the fastest man was Oliver Blake. Oliver, 35 from Shrewsbury, runs with Oswestry Running Club and decided to take part in the event whilst on holiday with his family. He finished with a time of 01:16:08.

Oliver said: “I didn’t plan on doing the race initially, but saw it was on while we were down here. My Dad’s a runner as well - he’s also running today and is 66. It was nice to come and spend the day here together.”

The second man in the Half Marathon was Jacob Maddison with a time of 01:21:13. Jacob, 32 from Exeter, runs with Exeter Harriers. He was closely followed by third-placed man, Nick Pendrigh, 28, who finished with a time of 01:22:25. Nick is from Australia but currently lives in Truro whilst he studies medicine.

The fastest woman in the Half Marathon was Laura Macro, 26 from Plymouth. Laura, who is unaffiliated, had never ran a Half Marathon before and was visiting Eden for the first time. She finished with a time of 01:31:21.

The second fastest woman in the Half Marathon was Ellie Robinson, 22, also from Plymouth. Ellie runs with Newport Harriers AC and finished with a time of 01:32:35.

Coming in as the third-fastest woman was Niamh Smith, 23 from Falmouth. Niamh, who is unaffiliated, finished with a time 01:37:20.

This was the thirteenth year of the event, which is jointly organised by the Eden Project and St Austell Running Club.

More than 1,400 runners signed up to take part in this year’s event – the highest number of entries since 2018 – with participants descending on Eden from across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Australia.

The event saw participants taking on the challenge of multi-terrain courses through spectacular landscapes before crossing the finish line in front of Eden’s world-famous Biomes.

After receiving their themed medals, participants were then able to enjoy a well-earned beer, courtesy of St Austell Brewery, and a pasty.

Among the field of Half Marathon participants was Dan Fine from Truro, who was running his third Half Marathon since August, to raise money for his friend and much-loved surfing photographer, Ben Selway.

Ben has been battling brain cancer and Dan has been fundraising to support Ben and his family. Having smashed his initial target of £2,000, Dan has currently raised over £6,000 with donations still coming in.

After crossing the finish line, Dan said: “Today was really exciting, particularly the finish of the course. You don’t see Eden until the end and it’s just amazing.

“It’s all downhill, you wind your way in and hear the noise of the crowds and see the Biomes and it’s brilliant. The support from everyone has been absolutely outstanding.”

Also taking part across both the Marathon and Half Marathon were eight team members from the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

The group were running to raise funds for the Trust, with most of the money raised going towards the organisation’s Rewilding Helman Tor Appeal, which aims to return natural processes to the landscape. The location is the Trust’s largest nature reserve.

Marte Martin-Upton, Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Community Fundraising and Events Manager said: “What an incredible atmosphere at the finish line of the Eden Marathon and Half Marathon. Cornwall Wildlife Trust are absolutely thrilled to have a group of eight runners, who have raised over £3,000, taking part.

“The marathon route goes over our largest nature reserve, Helman Tor, so this feels like a particularly special event to us. Well done to everyone – what a great achievement!”

Eden Project Commercial Manager Tracey Smith, who has organised the event since its inception, said: “Thirteen years in and I am still amazed by the spirit, comradery and heart shown at this fabulous event. It is a real joy to be a part of and it has been so inspiring to hear people sharing their stories of why they have taken part today.

“As always, we’d like to send our sincere gratitude to St Austell Running Club, Cornwall Search and Rescue, the volunteers and marshals and all our supporters, all of whom are imperative to the event and help make it the special occasion it is.”

Race Director of the Eden Marathon and Half Marathon Doug Alsop said: “I’d like to offer my congratulations to every single person who has participated in this year’s event. It has been another truly fantastic day and it's been wonderful to have so many people, from near and far, sign up to join us here today.

“Thanks to everyone who helps make this event the great day it is and we’ll see everyone again next year!”

The Marathon and Half Marathon will return next year with booking details being announced soon.