The popular Chichester Half Marathon returns this Sunday for its eighth running since its revival.
At 9am on Sunday the multi-terrain race will get under way from just outside Chichester College as 1,000 vie for glory, personal best times or just the chance to say they finished the race.
It passes through the city before wending its way up the Trundle, before returning to Chichester via the Lavant Valley and Centurion Way. Race entries are closed and no more will be accepted.
Some 25 years after the first Chichester Observer Centenary Half Marathon, the race returned in 2012, but with a different course and under new management. Since its revival, the race has gone from strength to strength and by popular demand returns for its eighth year.
Throughout this time the organisers have been most fortunate to have the significant backing of two notable, local sponsors - Montezuma’s Chocolates and Store Property.
Delivery of the event is shared between Everyone Active, the local leisure management company and the Chichester based international children's charity, Children on the Edge.
Stuart Mills, Contract Manager for Everyone Active Chichester said “We are excited about this year’s Chichester Half Marathon, which is now in its eighth year and the two other events introduced subsequently to encourage a greater breadth of runner to take part.
“Everyone Active encourages people of all ages and abilities to get out and take part in activity.
“We are pleased to be working with such an amazing Charity in Children on the Edge to deliver an event that not only makes a huge amount of money for some great causes but also actively encourages people to get active and lead healthy lifestyles.”
Ben Wilkes, Executive Director for Children on the Edge said: “We’re really excited to be in our eighth year, with a fantastic number of runners signed up.
“The race has maintained its popularity throughout with a significant number of runners getting sponsored for Children on the Edge, through our Run for Refugees campaign.
“Together with the profits from the event, this makes a huge contribution to our work and we are really grateful for the local support. If you live in Chichester, do join us on race day along the route.
“Having run the half myself I know it makes a big difference having the community cheer you on!’
The race is a mixture of road, footpaths, cycle tracks and bridleways over chalk, flint, downland grass, fields with heavy mud – real cross country.
The two new events introduced in 2016, the relays and the ten miler have proved very popular and again feature in 2019.
The ten-miler starts and finishes with the half marathon race but cuts out three miles up the Trundle.
The team relay event will have the same start and finish as the half marathon and be run over the same course but the route will be completed by a team of three different runners. Leg one is from the start to near the Royal Oak at East Lavant; leg two is from East Dean to the Dean at West Dean and leg three is from West Dean to the finish.
Many runners in Sunday’s Chichester half marathon are from well known local clubs from Brighton to Southampton but just as many are unattached.
Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey, South and East London and Kent will be well represented while the largest contingents come from Chichester Runners and Bognor’s Tone Zone Runners.
James Baker of Chichester Runners has won the half marathon every year since 2012 and will be back to defend his title.
It will be interesting to see if he or a rival runner will beat the course record of 1.11.52 he set a few years ago. The women’s event looks very competitive.
Both Juliet Stallard and Kari Mack have featured on the podium in previous years, but it will be interesting to see whether any runners new to Chichester will be capable of beating the course record of 1.29.54 which has not been broken for a few years.
There will also be team prizes. From the earlier races the Chichester Runners men and women have dominated these. The Corporate Team Challenge will see runners from Montezuma’s and Newey compete for the cup.
Nordic walkers from Chichester and beyond return again for the event, taking on the ten-miler route.
You can view more on the race at www.chichesterhalfmarathon.co.uk and full coverage of the event will be found at chichester.co.uk/sport on the day and a report, pictures and full results will be in next Thursday’s Observer.
It is hoped the people of Chichester will again take the opportunity to support the race by taking to the streets and lanes along the route to encourage the runners.