Guernsey Press

Could Ruel rule the roads in the Guernsey Marathon?

A French runner with a sub-2hrs 15min. personal best is the headline entry for Sunday’s Sure Guernsey Marathon.

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The route for Sunday’s Sure Guernsey Marathon takes runners up Le Val des Terres straight from the startline. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33134083)

Guillaume Ruel is among the over 200 runners registered for the gruelling 26.2 miles and would demolish the course record if he turns up and runs near his personal best of 2hrs 14min. 48sec., which he set in Rennes last autumn.

Guernsey’s own Will Bodkin holds the record for the current course, having run 2-35-15 to win the 2021 edition, while Kenyan Freddie Sittak’s 2-18-11 from the old route is currently the fastest marathon recorded on local soil.

Race director Michael Quittenden is always happy to see such high-quality entrants.

‘It says a lot,’ he said.

‘We would always like to have more interest from elite runners.

‘It shows the name’s getting out there for the race. It’s right off the back of the Easter Festival, and we’ve had some good names for that.

‘Guernsey is definitely on the map for athletes – it’s known for having a good standard.’

Ruel also raced the Jersey Marathon last year, finishing third behind two Kenyans, and it is the runner who placed sixth that day that appears to be Guernsey’s biggest prospect.

Ethan Woodhead ran 2-40-39 in warm conditions as a relative newcomer to competitive athletics, a performance he will be looking to build upon as home favourite on Sunday.

Reigning champion Rick Weston is instead due to race the Manchester Marathon that same morning.

The field has an international feel, with only around half of the entrants being local and some coming from as far afield as Finland, Poland, Sweden, and even the USA.

The combined entry – including support events – is the highest since the current marathon launched in 2020.

Nearly 700 runners are set to hit the roads around Guernsey all told, with large numbers taking to the two- and five-person relays, and a more youthful contingent eyeing the ‘marathon mile’ support race.

The main event is based at South Esplanade and largely follows a clockwise lap around the island’s main roads, starting with an early charge up Le Val des Terres but being generally flat and fast thereafter.

The marathon starts at 9am and relay runners set off 30min. later.