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Beckingsale and Bigham among favorites for British marathon champs

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Women's winner Sally Bigham in the snow during the AlpenTour Trophy

Women's winner Sally Bigham in the snow during the AlpenTour Trophy (Image credit: Regina Stranger)
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Oli Beckingsale (Endura MTB) and Graham Briggs (Team Raleigh) drop back from the lead group

Oli Beckingsale (Endura MTB) and Graham Briggs (Team Raleigh) drop back from the lead group (Image credit: Gerry McManus/www.splitsecondimages.co.uk)

Over 100 elite mountain bike racers are expected in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders for the 2013 British Marathon National Championships on June 8. Joining former Olympians Oli Beckingsale (Endura MTB Racing) and Nick Craig (Scott Syncros Pioneer) on the start line will be 2012 British Marathon Champion Lee Williams (Gateway Cycles), eight-time winner of the Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross Rob Jebb (Team Hope Factory Racing) and Scottish cross country mountain bike legend Rab Wardell (Alpine Bikes Racing).

Among those fighting for the women's title include the 2012 British Marathon Champion Jane Nuessli (Fischer-BMC), Sally Bigham (Topeak Ergon Racing Team), Amber Southern (WXC World Racing), currently ranked number one in the UK and Rachel Fenton (AW Cycles), who will be determined to go one better after her second place British Marathon Championships performance in 2012.

All of the elite riders will take on an 80km single lap course that includes a mix of natural and hand-made singletrack, double-track forest roads, ancient drove roads and man-made trail centre routes at Innerleithen in their bid to claim British honours.

The British Marathon Championships will be run alongside the Selkirk MTB Marathon, where as many as four hundred "sportive" riders will take on one of three fully marked courses - 25km, 50km and 80km. These routes that pass through the valleys of the Rivers Tweed, Yarrow and Ettrick will suit families, novices, intermediates, enthusiasts and racing snakes alike.

Course designer Pete Laing has been scouting new sections to freshen up the marathon courses. For those taking on the 80km course, he is determined to include a few optional timed "enduro" sections (an uphill, a downhill, and one that's a bit of both) to add a little more spice to those who want to race their mates and have the opportunity to claim the unofficial title of "King or Queen of the Hill".

Paul McGreal of the Durty Events organisers said, "We're really chuffed to be organising the British Championships alongside the popular Selkirk Mountain Bike Marathon. We believe we have the best trails the Scottish Borders has to offer. We are determined to provide an achievable challenge for all our riders in fantastic surroundings with a lot of fun thrown in too."

The marathon weekend's cycling festivities will begin on the evening of Friday, June 7, when Selkirk High Street will be transformed into a traffic-free street party. There will be a number of cycling events and activities that spectators can not only watch and marvel at but also take part in too.

For more information, visit www.selkirkmtbmarathon.com.