Entries are opening today for what is thought to be the first marathon to be held in the Borders.
The Lindsays Borders Marathon and Relay will take place on Sunday, March 2 at Kelso Racecourse, where runners will have to tackle 23.5 laps of the course.
The fund-raising event is the brainchild of Borders runner Chris Renton, and will have a number of unusual features in an attempt to broaden its appeal.
Organisers have announced that the race will include up to 90 individual runners, and ten relay teams, meaning up to 100 runners will be on the course at any one time.
Chris said: “I think it is the first Borders Marathon. I wanted to establish it because there are not that many distance runs in the Borders, and we have lost one or two of those that have existed in recent years.
“I think the nearest marathon is over the border in Kielder in Northumberland. Our event will be unusual in that it will be run in laps around the racecourse and whilst it is fairly flat, there is a climb in there.
“I think runners will enjoy the lap running, and it will certainly mean that friends, family and spectators can become more involved and can help even more in encouraging the runners. It also means runners return to their station every lap, and so can plan their race well.
“Having a relay element also means that runners who don’t want to run the full marathon distance can be a part of the day.”
Chris hopes the event will raise funds for the Brathay Trust, a national charity which helps vulnerable children get a better start in life.
He added: “Lindsays’ decision to sponsor the marathon will make a fantastic difference, the sponsorship will meet the costs of staging the event which means that all of the money raised will go to the charity. I was already grateful to Kelso Races and to Kelso Golf Club for all of their help and support as they are both providing their venues for free.”
Chris also intends to run in the Brathay 10 x 10 next year, where he will run 10 officially measured marathons in 10 consecutive days around Lake Windermere, one of the toughest and unforgiving road races in the UK.
He explained: “Only 15 runners in Britain are picked every year. I’m the first one from the Borders to be selected for the race so it’s a great honour and came as a great surprise.
“All of those chosen to take part raise at least £3,000 for the charity, and the Borders event, that I will also be running in, will help me reach that target. The races end on May 18 with a marathon open to everyone, and that also happens to be my birthday. It will be a very different kind of birthday party!”