Chichester Half Marathon is back - and is going to be big

Sally Taylor gets the 2013 Chichester Half Marathon under way  Picture by Makaela Papworth
Sally Taylor gets the 2013 Chichester Half Marathon under way Picture by Makaela Papworth

IT’S back! The third Chichester multi-terrain half marathon is scheduled for October - and registration has already opened.

The race will take place on Sunday, October 12, starting at 9am. It will be based at Chichester College and take in the historic sites of Chichester, including the Cathedral, Market Cross and the Roman walls, as well as the Lavant and Goodwood countryside.

Chichester and the neighbouring communities are very well served by road races these days. No sooner have we had the Priory 10k than its time for the Corporate Challenge, which saw its second race night last night. There are a couple of summer races, and then its half-marathon time again.

The Chichester Half Marathon is a challenging and beautiful race which offers views of city centre sights and landmarks as well as spectacular rural scenery. The terrain is a good mixture of road, paths, cycle tracks and cross country.

The race was revived and revamped in 2012 after a 25-year absence. Early registration for this year’s event is recommended as organisers are expecting a record turnout of both local runners and those from further afield.

The route starts in Westgate and travels easterly along West and East Street to Eastgate Square, where it follows the city walls round towards Priory Park, before the runners make their way across Oaklands Park, towards the rugby club and then out through Summersdale and Fordwater into East Lavant village.

Stunning downland scenery provides the backdrop for the runners to tackle Chalkpit Lane before climbing up to the pinnacle of the South Downs - the Trundle.

The next two miles are a steady downhill descent into West Dean, from where it picks up the Lavant Valley, returning to Chichester along the Centurion Way, finishing in the rear college car park.

This will be another fantastic opportunity for runners to take part in what is becoming a very popular and iconic race. Runners have commented on how much they have enjoyed ‘a great day’ and a ‘brilliant race’.

One runner last year said: “I was not looking forward to the Trundle but what an amazing feeling at the top.”

The race is suitable for all ages - over 17 years - and abilities, from the beginner to the more experienced runner, and this year the organisers hope even more people will take up the challenge.

The race is managed by Chichester District Council and Children on the Edge, a locally-based charity helping vulnerable children across the globe.

There is a race limit of 1,500 runners but this is expected to be reached well before the closing date at the beginning of October.

Some minor adjustments are being made to the course to accommodate the increased number of runners.

With the increased interest it is likely the course records for the men - James Baker in 1.12.25 - and for the women - Jen Bishop in 1.28.29 - will be broken. Training advice and guidance on preparation for the event will be available on the half marathon website and there is further information at www.chichester.gov.uk.

Extensive coverage will feature in the Observer.

GRAHAM JESSOP