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22 June 2011, 17:46
The organisers of a new 'green' marathon are hoping 6,500 runners - including some famous names - will take part in it in the Olympic year.
The Milton Keynes Marathon - supported by Heart - will see competitors run along the new city's red-surfaced pathways called 'Redways', around the new city's lakes and along the Grand Union Canal, before reaching the finish inside Stadium MK, the home of the Milton Keynes Dons football team.
The event's going to take place on Sunday 29 April 2012, a week after the London Marathon, and thirteen weeks before the start of the Olympic Games. The organisers say they are in negotiations to get some of the world's best athletes to take part.
With 4,500 acres of woodlands, lakesides, parks and landscaped areas, the organisers say Milton Keynes is the ideal venue for a 'green' marathon. There will be no significant incline on the 26 mile course, giving competitors a good chance of making new Personal Best times.
Olympic Marathon runner and Commonwealth Games medallist Liz Yelling is excited about the new event. "It's great to see an exciting new marathon coming to Milton Keynes," she said. "This lovely course offers real potential for both beginners and experienced runners to have a great race."
Pete Winkleman, Chairman of the MK Dons, told Heart: "In the last few years we've really looked to put sport at the top of the agenda in Milton Keynes. We've got so many wonderful assets here - our redways, our linear parks, some brilliant places, and when they came up with the idea of a Green Marathon, it's something we really wanted to get behind. "It's everybody's chance to get a little bit of that Olympic experience - coming into the Stadium, being able to be cheered on by your family and friends, it's going to be absolutely fantastic."
Hear the full interview with Pete Winkleman HERE
The entry fee is £36, or £34 for runners who are affiliated to English Athletics. A Corporate Relay Challenge is being run, where companies in the MK postcode are being encouraged to enter a team who will between them run the 26.2 mile course.
Hear an interview with Race Director Andrew Hully HERE
Details of the route - Full Map HERE
The marathon course will start on the V7 Saxon Street next to Stadium MK, and will switch to the Redway network at the Coffee Hall roundabout.
Runners will pass around the MK Hospital, and then go through Woughton on the Green and round the Open University to Caldecotte Lake.
From there they will pass Wavendon Gate, Kingston, Broughton and then do a circuit of most of Willen Lake.
The course continues through Woolstone and then along the canal up to Giffard Park before heading to Linford Wood.
Runners then follow the V8 Marlborough Street past Campbell Park and Central Milton Keynes to the finish at Stadium MK.