It may be more than six months away but planning has begun for the 2017 Chichester Half Marathon - and a record number of entries is on the cards.
Organisers at the Chichester-based charity Children on the Edge, in conjunction with Everyone Active, are well ahead with arrangements for the sixth renewal of the race since it was relaunched in 2012.
The challenging multi-terrain half marathon features a good mix of road, paths, cycle tracks and cross country.
Organisers expect to be inundated by entries from those returning and from new runners. Last year, numbers exceeded the 1,000 mark for the first time and this year they are hoping to reach the entry limit of 1,500 runners.
The event is suitable for people of all abilities (over the age of 17) from the beginner to the more experienced runner.
A full training programme is provided on the website for all those who enrol.
It will start at 9am on Sunday, October 8, from just outside Chichester College, where a race village will be set up. The route takes in the major city-centre sights and landmarks as well as spectacular rural scenery in the Lavant and Goodwood countryside.
The event will cinclude two additional events which featured for the first time in 2016.
There is the possibility of starting and finishing with the half marathon but cutting out three miles to make a multi-terrain ten miler. Organisers are revisiting sections of the course to make the distance closer to ten miles as opposed to the ten-and-a-half it turned into in 2016.
Also back is the three-person team relay. The enthusiasm and camaraderie which this event created in 2016 was just amazing and the organisers hope more teams will take up the challenge in 2017.
This 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. Teams can be three male runners from an athletic club; three female runners from an athletic club or three runners of either sex representing a works team, a bona-fide club, or family and friends.
The course will be divided into three legs and each runner takes a different leg. To be eligible to compete all runners must be 15 on October 1, 2016, and if under 18, have the consent of a parent or guardian to enter.
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 again for this year because there is so much interest in the event, lots of local business support and a real buzz in the community about race day.
“Not only this, but the money raised makes a huge difference to the vulnerable children we work with. Everyone can get involved, whether it’s running, volunteering or cheering on from the streets, so please do join us on the big day.”
Local sponsors of the event - Montezuma’s and Store Property – are backing the event for the sixth time.
The works trophy will again be promoted. Early indications are that many more businesses are considering entering this year’s event. Any organisation or business can enter as many people as they wish to compete for the trophy but it is the first three finishers on race day who will make up the scoring team.
Once the Works Trophy team members are registered the team manager needs to email email@example.com with the team name and a list of competitors who have entered.
Helen Pattinson, co-founder of sponsors 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!”
Prizes will also be awarded for the usual team awards.
Entries are now open for the 2017 half marathon. Prospective runners are advised to get their entries in early to ensure a place. On the grounds of health and safety and in fairness to runners who do enter on time the organisers regret that the race limit cannot be exceeded.
You can sign up at www.chichesterhalfmarathon.co.uk where training advice and guidance on preparation for the event is also availabl.
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