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News Archive > General > Marathon Plan Up and Running

Marathon Plan Up and Running

By Jacob Double 16th January 2021

Marathon Plan Up and Running
Bodmin Town Council executive assistant and keen runner Dave Bidgway, inset, is spearheading a marathon for Bodmin

Bodmin could host a 2022 marathon if ambitious plans are pulled off. Council officials, community leaders and keen runners are all joining forces to make the dream come to life.

The idea is being explored by town council executive assistant Dave Bidgway after running the London Marathon ‘virtually’ around town last year.

A keen runner and former Territorial Army member, Dave took part in the covid-secure version of the UK’s most famous running event in October after seeing a facebook post encouraging runners to take part and raise money for Front Line Emergency Equipment
Trust, which is based in Bodmin.

He chose a slightly adapted route that followed The Bodmin Way - a series of guided walks and cycle routes formed by five local churches. And from there the idea for an annual event was expanded.

Dave explained: “A couple of days after this event, I hosted a Zoom call where reverend Holley, of St Petroc’s Church, joined early. “He wondered whether Bodmin could cope with a proper marathon event along the same route next year.

“I believed that it could work giving existing marathon runners something different and more challenging, particularly considering the elevation. “I became overly enthusiastic about the concept and hardly slept that night as my mind was actively churning over the idea and I made copious notes on my phone, including a potential name for the event. The next morning I immediately spoke to Peter Martin - the Bodmin Town Council clerk - asking whether the Town would consider supporting ‘Marathon – The Bodmin Way (Beacon Beast).”

It is hoped that runners from around the country could include a weekend stay in the area around attending the event, bringing economic benefits to Bodmin.

Dave added: “Instead of just calling it Bodmin Marathon as per normal like the London Marathon, Manchester Marathon, Cornish Marathon etc, I wanted the name to stand out as it’s different.

“As well as being based on The Bodmin Way, the other meaning is that it’s a marathon, but with Bodmin’s unique way of doing one, incorporating the five churches and the elevation.
“The route circles Bodmin Beacon and the elevation makes it a beast of a marathon.”

A virtual meeting of the town council’s community services committee appointed a working group to make the event a reality. This group includes members of local running groups, councillors and planners from The Bodmin Way. The first event is being planned for spring 2022, in the hope that the pandemic won’t disrupt it, and so local runners get the chance to familiarise themselves with the route ahead of the real thing.

The proposed route, which is still being mapped and designed in full, will likely encompass
the longer cycling route of The Bodmin Way, which is around 26 miles already. The start line will be at Priory Park and the finish will form a tough climb up to the Beacon.

Barbara Brittain, planner for The Bodmin Way, commented: “We are thrilled to be working with Bodmin Town Council and Inbetweeners running group to utilise The Bodmin Way's cycle route for an annual marathon. “It will make for a challenging route, hence its name, ‘The Bodmin Way Beacon Beast’, is an apt one!

“It's a huge undertaking but working together we hope it will be of interest to many runners across the UK who will come to Bodmin for a weekend of leisure time with their family as well as for the challenge of the run."

Dave has also secured approval to expand the town council’s ordnance survey digital  mapping system to incorporate The Bodmin Way, allowing a route to be marked out properly. He added: “Once we have the first draft route with Barbara’s guidance we are really keen for Bodmin’s running clubs to be involved as much as possible, due to their members having a wealth of knowledge and experience in organising and participating
in running events and other sportives. Ongoing amendments can then be made to the
route to ensure it is 26.2 miles and to avoid any health and safety issues for runners,
marshals and spectators.”

The council's community services chairperson, councillor Debbie Henderson, said: “I am thrilled that Bodmin is to have its very own marathon. “The sporting achievements from residents within the town are enormous and I can't think of a better way to celebrate those than creating what we hope to be an annual event.”

Funding options for the event are to be explored, with possible support from Sport England in mind.

By Jacob Double 16th January 2021

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