In 1981 the Lions Club of New Milton were seeking ideas for fundraising events that could be organised and held in the town. After some discussion, one of the members stood up and said confidently “I’ve had an idea” and the rest is history.
Mick Manley, who was President of the local Club from Summer 1982 to mid-1983, suggested organising a marathon that would take in the local area. Funds would be raised from sponsorship and runners entry fees. The feasibility of a running event was discussed and once agreed a sub-committee was formed and work began on organising the event throughout the following year. In 1983, The New Forest Marathon was born and at the time was recognised as one of the most popular races in the world.
The first Marathon should have taken place in September 1982 but as there was no sponsorship available it had to be delayed until the following year. In the meantime, Mick was out for hours on end in The New Forest with a surveyor’s wheel measuring, re-measuring and marking out the course. A huge effort was made to ensure the route was not only suitable for the runners due to take part but one that took in the famous New Forest scenery and landmarks.
To be continued………
(We have sourced old race day magazines, photos and other items that will create this section in the coming months. If you have anything to help us add to this section please get in contact)