Organisers of Devon’s Women Can Marathon and Relay have released details of the event’s 2018 commemorative medal, which pays tribute to the suffragette movement in the 100th anniversary year of women achieving the right to vote.
The exclusive medal is a double-sided design, incorporating the Women Can logo and a ballot box, referencing this year’s marathon and the historic political advance of 1918.
It’s been created by race events supplier Running Imp and will be awarded to event marshals, as well as marathon and relay finishers.
Marathon organisers are linking up with Sidmouth Museum to highlight the museum’s display of items from the suffragette and anti-suffragette movement, and the original banner of the Sidmouth Suffragette Branch will be on show at the race start.
Women Can administrator Jo Earlam said: “Our inaugural 2017 event was in tribute to Kathrine Switzer, 50 years earlier, paving the way for women to run marathons.
“We couldn’t let such an important 100th anniversary for women pass this year without recognising the struggle they and men went through to enable women to be part of the country’s democratic process.
“We’re delighted with the medal design from Running Imp and that we can make it available to men and women by awarding it both to event finishers and all our marshals.”
With two months to go to the marathon and relay on Sunday 27th May, organisers are now inviting people to sign up to be marshals, man water stations and help in other ways with the off-road, multi-terrain event.
Marshal and volunteer forms are available to download from the Women Can website www.womencan.co.uk, which has been freshly re-designed by Exeter-based IT company Clystnet.
One marshal already on board is marathon running writer Lisa Jackson who’ll be the official sweeper. As author of the best-sellers ‘Running Made Easy’ and ‘Your Pace or Mine?’ unlike many runners, she's not afraid to finish last. She’s done so in 25 of the 108 marathons and ultras she’s completed.
Peg Wiseman, who’s assisting with event organisation said: “We at the Women Can Marathon believe everyone is welcome to the marathon party, no matter how slow you are, which is why we've recruited Lisa as a celebrity sweeper to encourage our slower finishers.
“Last year finish times ranged from 3 hours, 20 minutes, to 9 and a half hours. It was important to us, as organisers, and to our wonderful team of marshals, some who remained in post for over six hours, that everyone who wanted to keep going, was enabled to finish.”
Lisa is Contributing Editor to Women's Running magazine, as the self-styled 'World's Slowest Marathon Correspondent' and has reported on marathons in 22 countries, while always wearing fancy dress.
She said: “I was gutted not to be able to attend the Women Can Marathon last year as I'm a huge supporter of women's events and Kathrine Switzer's 261 Fearless Movement. Hence, I was delighted to be asked to be the official sweeper. Although I've never been one before, no one who's ever run (or walked) a marathon with me hasn't finished, so I know my chat-running skills will be put to good use in helping those at the back in achieving their marathon goals.”
Lisa will be selling and signing copies of her book ‘Your Pace or Mine?’ at the event, which starts and finishes on the village playing field at Tipton St John.
Woodbury based Brooklands Marquees are taking care of the race HQ layout, which will be designed to accommodate spectators as well as runners. There will be a bar and food sales throughout the day, with live musical entertainment, open to all, in the early evening.
The 26.2-mile course takes in the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Jurassic World Heritage Site stretch of the South West Coast Path and the towns of Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary.
It can be completed by women as individual marathon runners or Nordic walkers, as a paired half-marathon, or by relay in teams of 3 or 4. Details of how to enter and other race information is on the website www.womencan.co.uk
The event is non-profit making volunteer organised, raising money for dedicated charity partners Women in Sport, Force Cancer Exeter, BRACE dementia research, and Exeter Dementia Action Alliance.
The Women Can Marathon headline sponsor is Exeter-based IP Office Communications Ltd. Official partners are LED Leisure, 261 Fearless and Active Devon. Trophies are supplied by Dartington Crystal. Goody bag sponsors include Otter Brewery, LUNA bars, Vitabiotics WellWoman energy drinks and Portlebay Popcorn.