Date: 
Friday, October 1, 2010 - 11:56

Runners and their supporters will be gathering at the Eden Project on October 10 for Cornwall’s biggest ever race day.

The Eden Project Marathon and Half-Marathon are returning for the second year running after a successful debut in 2009. The challenging courses take a scenic route through the changing landscape of Eden’s nearby clay country. The race is being staged in collaboration with St. Austell Running Club.

Family and friends of runners receive free entry to the Eden Project on the day of the races. As well as the opportunity to explore the world-famous Biomes and outdoor gardens at Eden, there will be live music from local bands and the Biscovey Junior School choir, workshops to make banners in support of the competitors and a runners’ village outside the Link building.

Nearly 1,500 people are due to take part in the races. Among them will be Adam Holland, a 23-year-old runner from Tavistock in Devon. His run at Eden is due to see him become the youngest person ever to complete 100 marathons. The record is currently held by a 28 year old.

Alan Williams, a 31-year-old from Plymouth, will be running the Eden half-marathon as part of his effort to run 31 races to raise £31,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Alan, who has cystic fibrosis, has run races as far afield as the Tokyo and Amsterdam marathons.

Alan said: "For a long time, I'd wanted to do something truly memorable to mark the fact I'd reached what was once the average life expectancy for someone with cystic fibrosis. I'm sure most people would just have had a party but I've never taken the easy option and so Run31 was born.

"More than three-quarters of the way through the challenge, I'm still loving every minute of it and I'm determined to get to the end and raise as much money as I possibly can. Having run the Eden half-marathon last year, I know it is going to be a challenge - particularly with full marathons the week before and the week after - but I'm really looking forward to it."

Many runners this year are choosing to raise money for the Eden Project, registered charity number 1093070. Eden is asking competitors in the marathon and half-marathon to “run against climate change”, raising money in support of projects on the ground aimed at reducing climate change.

Tracey Smith, the organiser of both races, said: “This year we have more runners, more happening on site and we’re hoping that it will be a great day for all involved, whether they’re competing or supporting.

“The course is pretty tough but the scenery is amazing and unique to our part of Cornwall. You can even see both coasts at one point – a fitting reward for scaling one of the many hills along the way.”

The winner of last year’s Eden marathon was Pete Roper from Shaftesbury, Dorset who runs with Poole Athletics Club. Pete’s time was two hours 46 minutes 11 seconds. The first woman across the line was Ann Singer from Portishead Running Club who was running her first marathon with a time of three hours 38 minutes 32 seconds. Ann will be returning for this year’s marathon.

Last year’s half marathon was won by Chris Thompson from London who runs for the Aldershot, Farnham and District Athletic Club with a time of one hour 18 minutes 41 seconds. The fastest woman in the half marathon was Kathryn Philpotts of Swaledale Road Runners with a time of one hour 37 minutes 12 seconds.

Entry to both races is now closed. Spectators are welcome at Eden, friends and family of runners are admitted free but normal fees apply for everyone else. For more information, see www.edenproject.com/marathon or get involved on Facebook at www.facebook.com/edenmarathon.