Copyright Women Can 2017.
The Women Can marathon on 28 May 2017 is an exciting new event. Starting and finishing in the Devon village of Tipton St John, the 26.2 mile course 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. Entries are now closed!
The marathon is inspired by the story of Kathrine Switzer, who, in 1967 made global headlines by officially entering and completing a marathon. But the only reason she even made it to the start line of the Boston Marathon on 19 April 1967 was because on the entry form, she'd signed her name in the usual way, as KV Switzer. The organisers therefore had no idea that she was a woman until two miles into the event and when officials eventually did spot her, they tried 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.
Women Can is a one-off 50th anniversary marathon to celebrate Kathrine's achievement, which was a breakthrough moment for women's endurance running. This is a women only marathon but - just as many men supported Kathrine 50 years ago - we wanted the guys to get involved on the day too as volunteers and cheerleaders!
Women Can ... not just a marathon, but a celebration!
Entry fee & finisher package:Entry for all runners and Nordic walkers is £35 for members of clubs affiliated to either ARC, UK Athletics or Nordic Walking UK. There is a £2 surcharge for unattached entrants. This pricing structure enables everyone, whether completing the full marathon distance or by relay, to receive full event support and the same finisher package. This includes event logo T-shirt, bespoke medal and quality goodie bag.
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.
Categories & ages: Individual marathon runners – age 18 or over; Individual Nordic walkers – age 18 or over; Teams of 2 runners, half-marathon distance – age 17 or over; Teams of 2, Nordic walkers – age 17 or over; Teams of 4 runners, relay options of between 5.4 miles (hilly) and 7.8 miles (flat) – age 16 or over; Teams of 4 Nordic walkers, relay options as for runners – age 16 or over. (Please note: Nordic walkers must not run).
Event limit: The event entry limit is restricted to 300 (there will be a maximum of 50 relay entries of two and four and these will be treated as one place).
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/2nd club team, of marathon running club entrants wearing club vests..
Deadline: The closing date for entries is 10am on 8 May 2017, or when the entry limit is reached.
Women Can Marathon - The Route
Women Can Marathon 2017 - The Essential Bits
The route is almost entirely off-road, with just short sections on country roads and in the lovely Devon towns of Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary. The course is challenging in places; this is Devon, so there are hills! In fact, the total ascent is in excess of 3,000 feet, which is effectively a mountain as classified by the "Munro" status in Scotland. We think this is fitting; the women running the marathon will have a mountain to climb at the same time, not unlike the challenge that faced Kathrine Switzer 50 years ago. The Women Can marathon is all about taking part and having a great time, rather than setting PBs but if you do manage to set a PB along the way, then great!
The start and finish location is the eight acre playing field that is at the heart of the picturesque village of 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 pdf (linked below), which has all the details of route marking, water and relay points, parking, toilet and shower facilities, marshaling, and regulations.