Miss out on a Great North Run place? Forget that, try out this beautifully brutal half marathon instead.
Entries are open for runners who love a challenge to secure their place for the 2017 National Trust Durham Coast Half Marathon.
The 13.1 mile route along the Durham Heritage Coast from Seaham to Crimdon Dene is entirely off-road, taking in a combination of gentle cliff-top paths with dramatic steep ascents and descents in the dramatic landscape.
The route includes approximately 320 steps, making it a tough test, even for seasoned runners.
National Trust ranger and organiser of the event Wayne Appleton said: "I’ve been involved in this event from the start, five years ago. I still get a buzz seeing hundreds of people turn out to take part. They get to race on a fantastic stretch of coastline, knowing that they’re helping us look after it at the same time.
"Everyone who joins the race, or even just comes along to cheer the runners on, should be really proud of themselves.
"The money raised will help us to keep paths and steps well maintained as well as caring for woodlands, denes and meadows along the coast. Local residents, visitors and wildlife will all benefit well into the future from work we do now."
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.
The route will be clearly marked, with regular water stations to keep runners hydrated, and volunteer marshals will be in place to make sure the event runs smoothly.
Wayne said: "It takes a large team working together to make this event happen. Anyone who would 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.
"To find out more, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org"
:: 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
The Durham Coast
The National Trust is an independent conservation charity, funded through memberships, donations, legacies and commercial operations.
The charity 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.
For further information, visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/durham-coast