MORE than 1000 runners are set to descend on Marlow this weekend for a potentially record-breaking half marathon.

The 21st Marlow Half Marathon – notorious for being “one of the toughest” in England – is hoping for a bumper amount of competitors.

The long-distance test is also hoping to surpass the £5000 raised last year for Marlow charities.

This year’s beneficiaries will be the St John Ambulance – whose caravan was burnt down two months ago – and Marlow Sports Club.

And one of Marlow’s very own, last year’s fastest woman, Samantha Amend, is hoping to make the landmark run memorable for her own reasons.

After scorching to victory last year in one hour, 23 minutes and 17 seconds, the mother-of-two is desperate to go even faster.

The marathon runner – who is ranked the 14th fastest woman in the UK - has her sights focused on knocking “at least” 90 seconds off 2009’s time.

Despite last year’s victory, her personal performance was still hindered by last year’s freak weather.

“They were probably some of the worst conditions I have ever run in,” said the 31-year-old from Marlow.

“There was torrential rain and hail. The water was running down the hill quicker than I was running up it!”

Meanwhile, race director Rod Woodland, explained that it was the “energy and enthusiasm” of the marshals that make the race so special.

But he also paid tribute to the runners who brave the difficult course.

“It’s one of the toughest,” he said. “There are runners who train all summer long to pit themselves against the route.”

And the chairman of the Marlow Striders running club, Dawn Segrue, is banking on the competitors to rise to the occasion.

“If the weather holds out then maybe we can get a get a new course record,” she said. “Our aspiration is to have record entry numbers and record finishes.”