By Jesica Slabbert – Jan 25, 2019Local runners are tying their laces and prepping their bodies as the annual Bay Ultra Marathon approaches. The Marathon is set to take place on the 9th of February 2019 and will start at Pollock Beach in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth.The marathon will be running for 37 years this year, and has been growing consistently with more and more athletes signing up every year. With the increase in interest they have now opened up entries for international athletes who wish to compete.Local runners gear up for the Bay Ultra MarathonThe Bay Ultra Marathon is powered by Amobia communications and organised by Body Concept Road Warriors. This is a popular event for local athletes as the Bay Ultra Marathon one of two ultra-distance races that takes place in the Eastern Cape.Speaking at the media briefing for the Bay Ultra Marathon, Body Concept Road Warriors chairman, Mark Huppelschoten, said that they plan to grow local and international interest in the Bay Ultra Marathon.“We are proud to say that we are opening international entries this year and there are a couple of international athletes coming down to Port Elizabeth which is great for the Bay Ultra Marathon,” said Mark.There are three distances for the Bay Ultra Marathon, the 50km, 21km and 5km fun run. The 21km distance was introduced last year after the removed the 10km distance.“Generally speaking, we are looking at around 4000 athletes to run the 50km race and anywhere between 500 and 700 for the 21km race,” said Mark.Because of its position in the road running calendar, it is a qualifying event for the Two Oceans Marathon and Comrades Marathon, and is often used by athletes to gauge their training for these internationally known events.“One benefit about the 50km race is that we do have a time station at the 42.2km mark, and if runners decide to withdraw from the race there that time can still be used as a qualifying time,” Mark explained.Going green and giving back to Port ElizabethThe Bay Ultra Marathon likes looking for something local to support, and this year they are holding a tekkie drive for kids. Locals are encouraged to bring their old tekkies and running shoes down to Pollock Beach on race day so that they can be given to aspiring athletes who cannot afford them.Nicola Smith of Amobia Communications stated that they have been one of the main sponsors of this event for two years and take pride in promoting events in the city.“We are exceptionally proud of our city of Port Elizabeth. Although we have a national presence in South Africa our roots are in Port Elizabeth. We believe that our association with this race will benefit Amobia, the city and the running club,” said Nicola.Amobia will be sponsoring two prizes for the Bay Ultra Marathon, a lucky draw prize and a prize for the school with the most entrants.The Bay Ultra Marathon is headed in a greener direction. They have made all their medals out of bamboo which is more environmentally friendly, and the finishing arch will be made from trees instead of balloons this year.At the end of the race the trees will be donated to a worthy cause and planted.To find out more about the Bay Ultra Marathon and to enter online, visit their website at https://www.bayultra.co.za/.Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook. For news on the Western Cape click here.