First ever marathon planned for Sid and Otter Valleys

Jo Earlam crossing the finish line

Jo Earlam crossing the finish line - Credit: Archant

‘We wanted to do something impressive to celebrate 50th anniversary of Tipton St John playing fields’

Otter Rail and River runners

Otter Rail and River runners - Credit: Archant

A prolific long-distance runner has revealed exciting plans for East Devon’s first ever full marathon to take place across the Sid and Otter valleys.

Jo Earlam, of Tipton St John, set her sights on organising the 26.2-mile event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the village playing fields and hopes it will help raise the profile of the ‘beautiful’ region and its off-road routes.

A member of Sidmouth Running Club, Jo marked her 50th birthday with the completion of 50 marathons last year, netting a total of £6,000 for charity – now her love of the sport and local countryside has inspired her to give this opportunity to others.

Jo confirmed the date has been set for Sunday, May 28, 2017 and hinted there is yet more exciting news to be revealed in the near future.

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The former Herald reporter and author said: “Part of the reason for the event is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tipton St John playing field, so we wanted to do something impressive.

“We actually started the annual 10km Rail and River Run for the 40th anniversary in 2007, so we have built up quite a strong thing in the community since then.

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“When we first started that event, people questioned why on earth people would pay to run along the Otter. Yet, last year, we had 200 runners and it is our biggest fundraiser.

“Because I do a lot of running, I have always wanted to do a bigger event and I have now run 51 marathons, so the idea of organising a marathon in the Sid and Otter valleys is just really exciting. I love running around this area and I always wanted to organise a marathon.

“It will be the only marathon I know of that East Devon has had.

“It will be on a continuous loop and it is a beautiful course that goes right down the valley from Tipton St John to Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary and back.

“Sidmouth is the half-way point and a good spot for people to gather and see the runners.”

Jo said there will be a relay option for teams of two or four runners who can take part in sections of the whole marathon.

Her idea was announced in an email read out at an Ottery Town Council meeting on Monday and it gained the backing of all members, who agreed it would be good for the whole area.

The ever-popular Otter Rail and River Run will take place on Saturday, July 9, leaving from Tipton St John playing fields. Enter via: or download a form:

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