Copyright Women Can 2017.
The next Women Can marathon takes place on Sunday 27th May 2018. The 2017 event was empowering and for some life-changing. We hope 2018 will be the same.
Women Can was inspired by the story of Kathrine Switzer, who made global headlines in 1967 by being the first woman to enter and officially complete the Boston Marathon, despite race officials trying to physically pull her off the course. The images went around the world and prompted a change in attitudes within the sporting community - and among women who said: "Yes, we CAN do this." The full story of what happened that day is here.
The Women Can marathon and relay is about celebrating Kathrine's achievement and enabling more women to participate in endurance running. The ethos is about completing the tough distance, on this challenging course and the sense of pride and achievement whether running as part of a team relay, half marathon distance or the full 26.2 miles.
Starting and finishing in the Devon village of Tipton St John, the route takes in the breathtaking scenery of the Otter and Sid Valleys and a section of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site in East Devon. As well as runners, the event also welcomes Nordic walkers and has a long cut-off time of nine hours.
Women Can ... not just a marathon, a life change!
Start time: Nordic walkers set off from the start line at Tipton St John Playing Field at 8am; individual marathon runners and those doing the first relay leg leave the start line an hour later at 9am.
The route is multi-terrain, mainly footpaths, bridleways, coast path and woodland tracks, with short sections on country roads and in the towns of Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary. The course is challenging in places, with some serious hills climbs. This marathon is about taking part and having a great time, rather than setting PBs.
The start and finish location is the eight acre playing field in Tipton St John (EX10 0AF). The field lies on the banks of the River Otter and the route initially follows this downstream, mainly flat, through fields and footpaths, towards Budleigh Salterton. It picks up the South West Coast Path at White Bridge – the first relay change over point – ascending a series of hills, before descending to sea level at Sidmouth.
The town’s rugby ground is the location for the second relay and halfway point change over, fully off-road, yet within the town centre and having a wide range of facilities. From Sidmouth, the route heads out on a level, off-road path alongside the River Sid and through The Byes, a series of open parkland and wildflower meadows, to Sidford. This third relay section, although the shortest, is the toughest, climbing to the high point of 777 feet at East Hill. The third changeover point is at Whitecross Picnic Site, with panoramic views across the entire Otter valley.
The course descends through woodland, into open fields, and a quiet country lane to Ottery St Mary, passing through the length of the town to again reach the River Otter, and the final flat, riverside path back to Tipton St John.
There are a number of villages on the route, including Newton Poppleford, Colaton Raleigh, Otterton and Sidford. The terrain in parts is stony and there are both flat and undulating stretches across fields, on footpaths and grassy tracks. Full technical details of the course, with a breakdown of relay sections, are on the OS map of the route on the Location page.
Please take time to read the full Women Can Marathon Pack when it's issued nearer to the event date. This will have all the details of route marking, water and relay points, parking, toilet and shower facilities, marshaling, and regulations.
*Entry fee: Early bird rates to January 27th - Individual marathon runners and Nordic walkers £35; paired relay £25 each runner; team relay x 4 £20 each runner. Rate from January 28th -Individual marathon runners and Nordic walkers £40; paired relay £30 each runner; team relay x 4 £25 each runner.
*Entry fees quoted are for members of clubs affiliated to either ARC, UK Athletics or Nordic Walking UK.There is a £2 surcharge for all unattached entrants, to comply with event licence.
Refund policy: No refunds will be issued. Number swaps allowed with prior emailed notice of name change.
Deadline: The closing date for entries is midnight on 6th May 2018, or when the entry limit is reached.
Event limit: The event entry limit is restricted, based on the ratio of individual to relay registrations received, capacity at the start/finish and on the course.
Categories & ages: Individual marathon runners – age 18 or over; Individual Nordic walkers – age 18 or over; Teams of 2 runners/Nordic walkers, half-marathon distance – age 17 or over; Teams of 4 runners/Nordic walkers (relay options of between 5.4 miles and 7.8 miles) – age 16 or over. *Please note: Nordic walkers must not run.
Prizes: Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed individual marathon runners; 1st/2nd paired and team relay runners; 1st, 2nd and 3rd individual Nordic walkers; 1st East Devon runner; veteran category in five year age groups for individual marathon running entrants; 1st club team, of marathon running club entrants wearing club vests.
Finisher package: All finishers will receive a bespoke medal, T-shirt, goody bag and post-race refreshments along with full event support throughout.
Women Can Marathon - The Route
Women Can Marathon 2018 - The Essential Bits