ORGANISERS of the Chichester Half Marathon say they have been overhelmed by the demand for places in the 2015 race.
The popular multi-terrain event was revived in 2012 and has gone from strength to strength.
This year’s race takes place on Sunday, October 11 and was launched nearly three months ago.
Last year there were nearly 1,000 runners but this year the organisers have been able to increase the entry limit to 1,500 thanks to the experience of previous years and some minor tweaks in the course, cutting out some of the pinch points.
By the end of June, nearly 500 runners have already entered, with more signing up all the time.
It is organised by the Chichester-based charity Children on the Edge in conjunction with Chichester District Council.
Ben Wilkes, head of Children on the Edge in the UK, said: “The Chichester Half has been going from strength to strength each year since we revived it in 2012.
“We’re really excited for this year, some new competitions and prizes, lots of local business support and a real buzz in the community about race day.
“Everyone can get involved, whether it’s running, volunteering or cheering on from the streets, so please do join us on the big day”.
Cllr Eileen Lintill, cabinet member for leisure, wellbeing and community Services at Chichester District Council, said: “Runners will enjoy the scenic route, and for those that would love to tackle the challenge, but have never done anything like this before, organisers can provide support and training to help people achieve their goals.”
The race takes in the city-centre sights and landmarks as well as spectacular rural scenery. The terrain is a mixture of road, paths, cycle tracks and cross country.
It is based at Chichester College, where a race village will be set up, and will start in Westgate at 9am.
The route takes runners to Eastgate Square, past the City Walls to Priory Park, across Oaklands Park, out through Summersdale and Fordwater into East Lavant. They tackle Chalkpit Lane before climbing up to the Trundle before two miles’ descent into West Dean, to the Lavant Valley, returning to Chichester along the Centurion Way, finishing in the rear College car park.
The event is suitable for people of all abilities aged over 17 and a full training programme is available on the race website, though people are advised to start preparing now.
Organisers are also looking for volunteers.
Sponsors Montezuma’s and Store Property are again supporting the event. Both have directors who are keen athletes.
A works trophy proved popular when it was introduced in 2014 and again will be promoted, sponsored by Evans Weir, a Chichester firm of accountants.
Early indications are that many businesses are considering entering. An organisation or business can enter as many people as they wish to compete for the Evans Weir Trophy but it is the first three finishers on race day who will make up the scoring team. Email email@example.com for more.
Helen Pattinson, co-founder of Montezumas, said: “There’s nothing like the prospect of your work colleagues watching you run a race to motivate you to get out training. We have ten people in the business who are a lot fitter than they were!”
New for 2015 is a King and Queen of the Hill competition sponsored by the local sports shop i-run. Runners will compete with each other to see who is the quickest climber of the Trundle between two points – Seven Ways Car Park and the end of the flint track at the point where the course starts to go round the summit.
Chip timing mats will be placed at the beginning and end of the section, which will be marked with flags and bunting. To be eligible, runners must enter the half marathon, start the race in Westgate, complete the hill climb section and be a recorded as a finisher in the college car park.
Another innovation is the Krowmark Trophy, named after the local firm sponsoring it, which takes the form of a cup and a cash prize for the fastest club in the race.
Heading individual entries is likely to be last year’s winner James Baker of Chichester Runners. With this increased interest, it is expected that James will challenge his course record 1.12.24 and the women’s course record of 1.30.44 held by Kari Mack of Tone Zone Runners could also be at risk.
James will be joined by at least 300 other club runners including a good representation from Chichester Runners and Tone Zone Runners. The race is for club runners but three quarters of entrants to date are unattached, with an equal balance of male and female entrants.
Prospective runners are advised to get their entries in early. The limit on numbers cannot be exceeded.
You can sign up at www.chichesterhalfmarathon.co.uk and there is further information at www.chichester.gov.uk.
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