The countdown is on to the UK’s only marathon challenge series exclusively for women – and it looks like being the last one ever.
The Women Can Challenges – raising money for FORCE Cancer Charity – are on Sunday May 26 and offer full, half and quarter marathon options, all mainly off-road and taking in the spectacular East Devon countryside and coastline.
Organisers Pauline Beare and Peg Wiseman (pictured) are retiring after the event and founder Jo Earlam has stepped down after two years at the helm.
With no-one to take it on, 2019 will bring the curtain down on this unique women-only experience.
“Women Can has a very special atmosphere,” said Pauline, who is race director. “It’s inspiring to see so many women challenging themselves and having fun but after being involved in all three years of this event, it’s time for us to stop.”
If the London Marathon inspired you to lace up your trainers, there is still time to enter Women Can.
You can choose your challenge – 26.2, 13.1 or 6.55 miles – and run, jog or walk. There is a generous nine-hour time limit for whichever distance you tackle.
The 26.2-mile route will start on Sidmouth seafront, runners tackling the 13.1-mile option will set out from Tipton St John and quarter marathon entries will go off from Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club.
They will all start at 9am to ensure a steady stream across the finish line at Sidmouth Rugby Club’s Blackmore ground throughout the day.
Every finisher will receive a specially-designed medal and a goody bag with locally made products plus a cream tea.
There will be music throughout the afternoon and an evening party in the rugby club to celebrate the achievement of the competitors and mark the retirement of Pauline and Peg.
More than 240 women from all over the country have already entered.
There are also plenty of volunteering opportunities available throughout the day.
The event is raising money for FORCE, which provides support for anyone locally affected by cancer with a Support and Information Centre in Exeter and weekly outreach sessions in Tiverton, Okehampton and Honiton.
Women Can is also supporting the South West Coast Path Association, which protects, improves and conserves the 630-mile stretch of the National Trail.
To underline the event’s commitment to a clean environment, runners have been asked to bring their own reusable cups to be filled at each of the water stations.
IP Office Ltd, which provides award winning IT and communications solutions to businesses of all sizes, are headline sponsors of the event for a third year running.
For more information about Women Can Challenges and to sign up, visit www.womencan.co.uk