THE Southend Pier Marathon is set to become a regular fixture in the athletics calendar after the inaugural event proved to be a hit.

Sussex Trail Events organised the 26.2 mile contest, which saw 91 runners compete in the world’s first marathon contested entirely over the sea.

And Jay McCardle, who is a race director at Sussex Trail Events, confirmed that the race was well received by those taking part.

McCardle said: “It was a great day.

“All the runners loved the chance to run a marathon in a unique place and be part of the first marathon contested on a pier.

“We would love this to be an annual event, which would allow others to have the chance to complete a marathon in such an amazing place.”

Paul Sargeant became the first athlete to complete the Southend Pier Marathon.

The Burgess Hill Runners member crossed the finish line after two hours, 48 minutes and 35 seconds.

Tracy Harrington, of Tiptree Road Runners, was the first female runner to complete the event as she registered a time of three hours, 38 minutes and 25 seconds to take 22nd place.

A number of south Essex athletes were also put through their paces.

Darren Latter, of Rochford Endurance and Distance Runners, took 20th spot after registering a time of three hours, 37 minutes and 48 seconds.

Fellow Rochford Endurance and Distance Runners members Paul Claydon, Keith Lovell and Paul Mansfield also crossed the finish line.

Five Benfleet Running Club representatives were also in attendance.

Michael Waters and Mark Cowan both grabbed places in the top 40, while Sean Allison, Ann Reed and Paul Reed also completed the marathon, which attracted competitors from far and wide.

McCardle added: “We had a lot of local Essex support and people from further afield.

“One runner even flew down from Scotland to compete in the event.

“The staff at the Pier were amazing as well.”