Women-only run across Sid and Otter valleys to mark historic 50-year milestone

Jo Earlam crossing the finish line

Jo Earlam crossing the finish line - Credit: Archant

Organiser of East Devon’s first ever marathon reveals exciting twist

Organisers behind East Devon’s first ever marathon have revealed it will be a women-only event to celebrate a huge milestone in history.

The Herald exclusively announced plans to launch a scenic 26.2-mile route through the Sid and Otter valleys which will take place on Sunday, May 28, 2017.

Prolific runner Jo Earlam, of Tipton St John, is behind the idea and this week revealed an exciting twist with the news that the marathon will be exclusively for female runners to celebrate 50 years of women’s endurance running.

Jo explained that 1967 marked a milestone year when Kathrine Switzer defied the men-only rules and became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon – leading to females being officially allowed to enter by 1972.

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She was inspired to launch an event in recognition of this historic step and also to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tipton playing field.

Jo said: “I’ve thought in recent years it would be an ideal venue to host a longer running event. Being a marathon runner myself, and having run through the beautiful Sid and Otter valleys many times, that distance and that course had a real appeal for me, but I’d never got further than thinking of it as a possibility one day.

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“I thought it would be a great anniversary event to hold a marathon from Tipton playing field and make it a celebration of 50 years of women’s endurance running. The response from people we’ve spoken to so far about the event has been very positive and encouraging. I’m really excited.”

She added that she hopes to make it an inclusive event, with men very much involved in support roles.

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 – she hopes to inspire others through her love of the sport. The official marathon launch is set to take place next month.

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