Chichester 10k set to celebrate 25th anniversary

The start of the 2015 Chi Priory 10k / Picture by Kate Shemilt
The start of the 2015 Chi Priory 10k / Picture by Kate Shemilt

THE Chichester Priory 10k road race reaches its 25th anniversary in February.

On Sunday, February 7, at 10am, the annual race will start from Chichester Festival Theatre car park. Organisers are confident it 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 early training for the London and Brighton marathons.

The course for 2016 will be the same as last year, when organisers introduced a few minor changes that were appealing to the runners. Runners will once again be able to finish through the CFT grounds, now the refurbishment has been completed.

Runners will be led out from Northgate car park into College Lane for the start. They willhead north until they meet Wellington Road, where they will turn right into Graylingwell Park.

Runners will arrive at the top of Kingsmead Avenue and after a gentle downhill slope return to the old course at 2k. which was used up to five years ago. Then it is business as usual around the Goodwood airfield, into East Lavant and back down the Broyle Road to the finishing line. Further traffic management measures on the A286 will be introduced for 2016 to enhance the safety of runners.

There will be special features to mark the 25 years. Organisers would like to hear from anyone who has run 20 or more of the races.

This well-established race is very popular and it is expected that entrants from all over the UK will take part. It is hoped many of the faithful supporters will return alongside new entrants, 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 the year.

The race is organised by the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory who use it to raise money for deserving causes. Over the last 24 years, more than £330,000 has been raised for a variety of charities – this in addition to personal sums raised by individual runners for their own charities.

It has a number of sponsors, including a major sponsor from previous years in Brooks, the international sportswear company who have been involved in the event for a decade.

Wannops LLB, a Chichester firm of solicitors, are one of the major partnership sponsors as is Henry Adams, the estate agents and agricultural land valuers.

There will be special features to mark the 25 years. Organisers would like to hear from anyone who has run 20 or more of the races.

If you have more than 20 of the mugs which are given to runners each year, let the organisers know and supply a photo of your mugs. A prize will be awarded to the person who has completed the most number of Chichester 10ks and the runner with the best presentation of the most mugs.

The race attracts a wide range of running abilities, from new entrants to those who know a personal best is attainable on such a flat, fast course. There will be many runners looking to challenge for the main prizes or even break the course record.

All the local running clubs are expected to enter strong teams. The race also features the Sussex AA Harvey Curtiss 10km Road Race Challenge series which means some of the best runners in Sussex to attend the event. Hampshire and Surrey as well as counties further afield are also likely to be represented.

Spectators will be welcome to see the runners head off along College Lane. Large crowds are expected to be at the finish and prime positions to view the race are along the Broyle Road to the Festival Theatre.

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 finishing line. Full coverage will be provided in the Observer.

Apply to enter and put your training programme together. Forms will be available from the Westgate Leisure Centre, the tourist information centre and online from the Chichester Priory Rotary Club website – www.chichester10krace.org.uk

- GRAHAM JESSOP

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