PICTURES: 300 runners compete in first Great British Seaside Marathon in Skegness

Flags were flying in the sea breeze as over 300 runners arrived in Skegness from all over the country for the Great British Seaside Marathon.

The promenade near the RNLI station was buzzing with spectators and competitors at a time most people were still having breakfast on Saturday morning.

But in spite of being there for the serious business of taking part in the first marathon event stretching from Skegness to Mablethorpe they couldn’t forget the excitement of being at the seaside – and many were grabbing a ‘selfie’ with the beach in the background.

Faced with sunshine and showers, it wasn’t surprising the runners had a somewhat ‘bracing’ start, but spectators managed to keep warm making good use of the kiosks that had opened early to serve coffee.

"Smile for the cameras and keep smiling when you come through the finish line, “ urged the commentator to the runners as the countdown began at 8.30am.

And they were off ...

The event included two distances – the marathon which was 27.3 miles to Sutton-on-Sea and back and the ultra marathon which was just over 35 miles to Mablethorpe and back.

But according to the competitors we spoke to, there was one important factor that had been a big attraction – the courses were flat.

Victoria Fakkel of Epson knew exactly how she was going to celebrate completing the marathon. “It’s my 99th marathon so I’ll be celebrating with an ice-cream with a Flake in it.

"I decided to enter because my in-laws live in Lincoln and wanted to make my 99th marathon a bit different.”

Alan Gregory of Burton Upon Stather has been running for 30 years and went along to support ‘Curly’ as they live in the village. “I’m chairman of Winterton Running Club and have competed in lots of races over the years but thought it was about time I did a marathon.

"This is my first one and one of the reasons I chose it was because the course is nice and flat.”

There was no taking it easy for Phil Smith who was celebrating his 41st birthday. A member of East Hull Harriers, he brought his family along for a weekend by the seaside.

"We are staying in a caravan and making a weekend of it,” he said. “It’s my first marathon too but I’m told the course is flat!”

We joined the organisers again at 5.30pm in Skegness when most of the runners were back.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Jonathan ‘Curly’ Frary, of event organisers Curly’s Athletes just after 5pm and with all the runners nearly back. “The weather has been a bit challenging but overall the feedback has been exceptional.

"We have had a lot of positive feedback from people who used to come to Skegness on holiday.

"Normally they come for festivals or days out but this is the first adventure challenge for them.

"We are very excited about the future of the event.”

As well as promoting the diversity of the Lincolnshire coast and passing landmarks such as Butlins and the North Sea Observatory at Chapel Point, the race raised funds for charity – including the Skegness RNLI, LIVES First Responders and the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance.