THE annual Chichester Priory 10k will take place on Sunday, February 8.
With a 10am start from Chichester Festival Theatre car park, the organisers are confident the race, in its 24th year, will prove as popular as ever.
It is the first major local running event in the new year and gives entrants an early assessment of their post-Christmas fitness, especially if they have a longer run in mind later in the year. Many runners use it as part of their early training for the London and Brighton marathons.
The course for 2015 will be the same as last year, when a few minor changes went down well with the runners. However, the finish will return to the 2013 route passing through the Festival Theatre grounds now the venue’s refurbishment has been completed.
The start will be in College Lane and runners will proceed in a northerly direction until they meet the junction with Wellington Road, where they will turn right into Graylingwell Park. After running through the park, runners will arrive at the top of Kingsmead Avenue and after a gentle downhill slope return to the old course at 2km, which was used up to five years ago.
From then on it is business as usual around the Goodwood airfield, into East Lavant and back down the Broyle Road to the finishing line in the theatre car park. A number of improved traffic management measures on the A286 will be introduced for 2015 to enhance the safety of runners.
It is expected entrants from all over the UK will take part. It is hoped many faithful supporters will return, with new entrants attracted, so the race limit of some 2,000 runners will be reached. For the past few years, this race has always been oversubscribed. So if you intend to run, make sure you get your entry in before the end of this year.
The race is organised by the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory, who use it to raise money for many deserving causes. They have a number of sponsors again this year, including a major sponsor from previous years in Brooks, the international sportswear company who have been associated with the event for ten years.
JB Architecture, a Chichester-based firm, will be another major sponsor.Two local firms, solicitors Wannops and estate agents Henry Adams, have also agreed to be key race sponsors.
The race attracts a wide range of abilities – from those experiencing the event for the first time to those who know a personal best is attainable on such a flat, fast course.
There will also be many runners looking to challenge for the main prizes or break the course record. All the local running clubs are expected to enter strong teams. The race also features in the Sussex Grand Prix and the Sussex AA Harvey Curtiss 10km road-race challenge series, so expect some of the best runners in Sussex to attend, as well as those from Hampshire, Surrey and beyond.
Spectators will be welcome to see the runners head off along College Road. Large crowds are expected to be at the finish and prime positions to view the race are along the Broyle Road from the Avenue to the CFT.
The leading runners will be back in about 30 minutes but for the next 45 minutes, expect to see large groups of runners crossing the line. Full coverage before the race and afterwards will once again be provided by the Chichester Observer and its website, www.chichester.co.uk
If you have been inspired by recent sporting events like the Commonwealth Games or athletics World Championships or want to be fit for a new challenge in 2015, now is the time to join in the action.
Entry forms will be available from Westgate Leisure centre, the tourist information centre and online from the Chichester Priory Rotary Club website www.chichester10krace.org.uk