TOMORROW (Sunday) sees the 65th consecutive running of the Isle of Wight Marathon — now the longest surviving marathon in Britain — but with entry numbers disappointingly low, organisers are hoping for a surge of entries on the day.

So far, with entry numbers at less than half the figure for last year’s event in the middle of the pandemic, organisers are expecting the lowest Isle of Wight Marathon turn-out for many years. 

Starting from the Isle of Wight Community Club, Cowes (at 11am for slower runners and 11.30am for faster ones), the single lap course will take runners along the West Wight’s quieter, more scenic roads, through Gurnard, Rew Street, Porchfield, Shalfleet, Yarmouth, Afton, Willmingham, Thorley, Wellow, Shalfleet, Porchfield, Northwood and back to the start in Cowes.

There will be marker boards at each mile point. The course is not suitable for wheelchairs.

There will be awards for fastest man and woman overall, year and veteran categories and teams of three.

Isle of Wight County Press:

There are £200 prizes for the first man and woman, with the carrot of a £50 award for breaking an overall record and £25 for a veteran record.

Everyone who finishes will receive a medal.

Last year’s fastest Islander was Gary Marshall, of Ryde Harriers.

A time limit of 3hrs 10mins at the 15-mile point will be enforced. This equates to a six-hour finish time.

Isle of Wight County Press: The start of the 1957 Isle of Wight Marathon in Ryde.The start of the 1957 Isle of Wight Marathon in Ryde.

One of the event’s organisers, Steve Lee, said: “The course we have used since 2013 has proved popular with runners and last year’s event — held in spite of Covid restrictions and on a very wet and windy day — was the best for many decades. 

“This year, we are very disappointed entries have fallen — presumably due to the sudden increase in races taking place this autumn — but we will take entries on the day from anyone inspired to join us.

“With last weekend being the London Marathon and this one, the Manchester Marathon, they have crashed our date.

“It looks like it will be one of our lowest entry totals ever.” 

Currently, organisers expect the event to proceed without Covid restrictions.