THE Purbeck Marathon has been rated as the best marathon in the country, in only its second year.

Respected Runner’s World magazine awarded top honours to the event after analysing data from people who took part in this and a host of other more well-established marathons across the UK.

Organisers of the Purbeck race, which starts and finishes in Swanage, described the rating as “an incredible achievement”.

Race director Rose Clarke said: “We have been overwhelmed by the responses of runners to the first two years of the Purbeck Marathon. This has justified all the effort that has been put into the event, not just by the committee but also the many volunteers organisations and individuals that are crucial to an event of this complexity.

“This rating of best in the UK is the result of everybody’s work as well as a spectacular natural course.

“We are already working hard on the third race in September this year to ensure we can deliver another excellent and safe event for the runners as well as achieving our other goals.”

During the race runners pass through Corfe Castle, Tyneham Village, cross a busy steam railway, a tank firing range and picturesque Jurassic Coast and countryside.

The course is challenging, with many hills up and down, but competitors are given Isle of Purbeck Beer and Purbeck Ice Cream to help them recover after crossing the finish line.

Eight volunteers work throughout the year on the marathon committee, while a further 150 people give up their free time to help on the day.

The event also helps raise money for Swanage Carnival charities and Help for Heroes.