Milton Keynes Marathon has been named among the top 10 marathon races in the UK.
The poll, by readers of Runner’s World magazine and website, was based on feedback from those who have taken part in marathon events across the UK.
Race director, Andy Hully, said it was a real honour to achieve and reflected on the Milton Keynes residents who came out to support the event.
He said: “To get into the top 10 after only two years is an amazing achievement and a fantastic accolade for all those who have organised, supported and volunteered at the event.
“For such a new event like ours to make it into the Runner’s World marathon top 10 is something we couldn’t have dreamed about last year.
“A lot of the feedback touched on the atmosphere and support out on the streets and redways of Milton Keynes. The huge numbers of people who cheered on competitors were amazing and it really did make a lot of difference to the runners.
“Many commented on the excellent organisation and encouraging marshals, and we owe our thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who gave up their Bank Holiday Monday last year to help the race go smoothly.”
In highlighting the event, Runner’s World stated: “The organisers should feel flushed with success.” It also singled out the plentiful toilets – a lack of toilets is usually a common gripe by runners at races.
The race scored 85% for organisation, 84% for atmosphere, 78% for beginner friendliness and 78% for scenery. It was given an overall score of 87%, with 90% saying they would do it again.
One local runner’s feedback read: “A great race that can be taken seriously or just have fun and enjoy the atmosphere along with the huge support.”
Other runners commented: “Great to finish in the stadium with people cheering you on and shouting your name. That was priceless.”
“The support along the course was great. The race numbers had our names printed on them and it was really nice to hear the spectators spur me on by shouting my name and offering words of encouragement.”
“Great organisation! Great support from the good people of MK!”
Despite the high praise, the Sketchers Performance Milton Keynes Marathon race team is keen to continue to make improvements for the 2014 event which takes place on Bank Holiday Monday, May 5. Work is ongoing to enhance the route and participants have been told to expect more city centre tree lined boulevards and fewer underpasses in 2014. The race will remain a traffic-free, fast single lap with entertainment on route and a finish inside stadium:mk, home of MK Dons.
Organisers have also added the new MKM Half Marathon to the event for 2014 which, like the marathon, is on a traffic-free course and finishes in stadium:mk. The 2014 event also includes the popular Superhero Fun Run and the Geoffrey Leaver Corporate Team Relay.
Entries for the 2014 event have already opened with nearly 1,800 people already snapping up an ‘early bird’ discount of £6 on the £44 race fee for affiliated club members and £46 for the unaffiliated. Early bird entries close on the January 31.
“For those people looking to make the step up from a half marathon, a local marathon where family and friends can come and support you is a great motivator,” said Mr Hully.