NEWS that the Bolton Marathon could be making a comeback sent us heading back into the archives to the time of the original races.

When the first Bolton Marathon was held in 1981, mass participation events were very much in their infancy.

Earlier in the year the first London Marathon was staged, but in August of that year 1,300 more competitors took to the streets of Bolton than in the capital with some 8,700 runners setting off from Beaumont Road.

The inaugural marathon was sponsored by the sportswear company Pony and the winner, Stan Curran, crossed the finishing line in a time of two hours 19 minutes.

The course - 26 miles and 285 yards - took in Lostock, Westhoughton, Atherton, Little Hulton, Walkden, Farnworth and Little Lever, finishing with a tough uphill climb up the aptly named Plodder Lane and on to the finish Hulton Lane playing fields.

Hundreds of people would line the route cheering on both elite athletes and the club and fun runners who raised thousands of pounds for charity by taking part in the race.

Even the experts said that the marathon represented a tough challenge with the finishing two miles being dubbed the ‘Bolton beast’.

The marathon was held for seven years with the final race in 1987 attracting around 2,000 runners. Dwindling numbers were blamed for the race being cancelled.

Over the past 30 years there have been a number of calls to reinstate the race. Bolton already hosts the hugely successful Iron Man event was has succeeded in putting the town on the international stage.