Beautifully brutal half marathon returns to stunning coastline - are you up to the challenge of the National Trust Durham Coast Half Marathon?

Runners who are up for a challenge are being invited for an annual fundraising half marathon along one of our most beautiful stretches of coastline.

Thursday, 21st February 2019, 12:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 12:37 pm
Durham Coast Half Marathon runners, picture by northeastwildlife

Entries are now open for the the annual National Trust Durham Coast Half Marathon, which runs from Seaham to Crimdon Dene along the Durham Heritage Coast pathway.

The 13.1-mile race, which is entirely off-road, takes place on Sunday June 16 this year, combining gentle sections along cliff top paths - but with some steep ascents and descents, including approximately 320 steps.

Easington beach from the cliff top by John Millar, National Trust Images

It's a tough test, even for seasoned runners, but organisers say the beautiful views, and the fact that all profits from the race go directly to fund work caring for the local coast and countryside, make it a worthwhile challenge.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Wayne Appleton, a National Trust ranger and organiser of the run said: "We’re now in the seventh year of this event and it seems to keep growing in popularity.

"I think it’s the beautiful coastline that brings people back year after year, even if they swear ‘never again’ after tackling all the steps.

"The fantastic atmosphere and cake at the finish line definitely help too. It’s great that so many people are learning what an amazing place the Durham coast is to visit and how we’re working to look after it."

Cotsford Fields, Horden. Picture by John Millar, National Trust Images

The route will be clearly marked, with regular water stations to keep runners hydrated. Volunteer marshals are key to ensuring the event runs smoothly.

Wayne continued said: "We wouldn’t be able to hold this event or carry out all the work we do on the coast without the help of volunteers.

"They do a brilliant job and have so much enthusiasm. Anyone who’d like to get involved can sign up as a volunteer marshal. It’s fun, a good way to meet new people and you don’t need any experience."

The race starts at 11am at Nose’s Point in Seaham, with the first finishers expected at Crimdon Dene by 12.20pm.

All runners will receive a t-shirt and medal as well as free refreshments at the finish line. Prizes will be awarded to the first three men and women, as well as winners in each age category.

Entry is £28 per person and includes minibus transfer from the finish back to Nose’s Point. For further details and to book a place, visit www.sientries.co.uk

To find out more about volunteering at the race, contact Wayne at durhamcoasthalfmarathon@nationaltrust.org.uk

If you're looking for a slightly more manageable challenge - or something to help get you trained up for the half marathon, the Cotsford Fields parkrun is a weekly free event at Horden and takes in part of the Durham Coast Half Marathon route. Full details can be found on the events Facebook page.

About the Durham Heritage Coast

The National Trust cares for 260 hectares of land between Seaham and Horden within the Durham Heritage Coast. The coast is characterised by rocky headlands, sheltered bays and wildlife rich wooded denes such as Warren House Gill and Hawthorn Dene.

The area is of national and international importance for nature conservation, geology and landscape.

A large proportion is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because it contains the majority of the Magnesian Limestone grassland found in Britain (274 hectares in Britain).

The grassland supports wildflowers including betony and orchids and also rockrose, the food source for larvae of the scarce Durham Argus butterfly.

The coast is a Special Protection Area (SPA) because of important populations of over wintering waders such as Sanderling, Redshank and Purple Sandpiper. It is also a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for land based habitats.