A new era for the Chichester Priory 10k arrives this Sunday.
The 26th staging of this event sees it moved away from its traditional base in the city to the Goodwood motor circuit.
The event has more than trebled in size since the inaugural race but it remains a very varied race in terms of competitors.
Organisers say many of the positive aspects of the old route have been retained at the same time as changes have been made.
The event has become one of the major road races in the English road-running calendar and the success of the 25 previous years’ events has ensured this year’s race is again extremely popular, with runners from all over England among the 2,000 who have registered.
The new route for 2017 is over public roads for the first 6k, finishing with a complete lap of the Goodwood motor circuit.
Runners will start at the entrance to the circuit in Claypit Lane, race past the Rolls Royce factory and along Madgwick Lane to the Park Hotel roundabout.
They continue along historic Stane Street, through Strettington and back along New Road, entering the motor circuit at the main entrance on Claypit Lane and finishing at the pits straight after a complete lap of the motor circuit.
The country roads are undulating and hard-surfaced, as is the motor circuit.
There are entries from clubs all over the south and the race again features in the Harvey Curtis Sussex Road Race Challenge.
In 2017 the world athletics championships are in London and organisers have heard from a number of runners wishing to test their fitness ahead of trials.
The event has more than trebled in size since the inaugural race but it remains a very varied race in terms of competitors. There will be runners representing their clubs, running for charity, looking for personal bests or turning out for the first time.
There is a comprehensive prize list for the different categories of runners.
There are prizes available this year for the first two male and female runners who finish the race in less than 30 minutes (for the men) and 33min 30sec for the women.
There are special prizes for local runners. The Chichester Observer will present the Ben Steppel Memorial Prize to the first under-23 local man home and organisers will present the Colin Thorne Memorial Prize to the first under-23 local woman finisher.
Organisers hope the fact the new course is relatively flat will prove as fast as the old course.
The front end of the race could be very exciting with at least three in-form men having entered the race.
No stranger to Chichester is Phil Wylie of Cheltenham Harriers, who won the race in 2014 and has been placed on a number of occasions and has already won a 10k race in Exeter in 2017.
Finn McNally of Brighton Phoenix is a newcomer to Chichester but is one to watch for the future and has been in Kenya undertaking altitude training but he will be back in the UK for the race.
Perhaps the most in-form runner will be Andy Maud, an England and GB international who runs for Highgate.
He will come to Chichester fresh from his triumph on Saturday in the South of England cross-country championships at Parliament Hill.
Other runners likely to be challenging for the podium places are Paul Navesey from Crawley AC, Alex Wall-Clark of Southampton AC and Kevin Rojas from Brighton and Hove, who will also be a contender for the Harvey Curtis Sussex Road Race Challenge.
Another runner who frequently returns to Chichester is Paolo Natali from the Achilles Club who now works in America.
The veterans’ race should provide plenty of interest with the leading runners from Sussex competing against those from Kent, Hampshire and the Channel Islands.
Top local runner James Baker is now classed as a vet and will renew his rivalry with Neil Boniface from Horsham Joggers. Tad Dicker from Aldershot will be the man to beat in the over-50s class and there are also prizes for over-60s and 70s.
It looks like English international Rebecca Moore from Worthing, now running for Chichester Runners, will be the main contender for top spot on the podium in the women’s event.
She has just returned from a very successful England-team trip to Bermuda, where she was placed in the 10k and half marathon races. One of her rivals will be another England international, Sophie Cowper from Rotherham Harriers and AC, making her debut at Chichester.
Another newcomer is Phoebe Law from Kingston AC and Poly Harriers, who is coached by one of the UK’s leading endurance coaches, Mick Woods. She is only 20 and recently won a strong Surrey cross-country event.
Other prize contenders will be Bryony Proctor (Aldershot Farnham & District AC), Izzy Coomber (Lewes), Jessica Chen (South London Harriers), Charlotte Bunch (Eastleigh AC), Ellie Monks (Southampton AC) and Emily Proto (Arena 80 AC).
There will be strong competition for the veterans’ prizes with many familiar faces returning to Chichester including Kathy Bailey of Winchester AC, Caroline Hoyte (Arena 80), Sarah Kingston (Worthing), Andrea Banks (Jersey Spartan AC), Wendy Roberts (Guildford and Godalming AC) and Emma Montiel (Portsmouth AC).
Teams from Winchester, Worthing, Southampton and Arena 80 from Brighton will be leading contenders in the women’s team event.
Entries are invited for the Henry Adams Memorial Prize. If you who have an interesting story affecting your preparation, decision to enter or other event which inspired your entry, email firstname.lastname@example.org by midday Saturday. A memorial trophy plus a cash prize will be presented to the winner at the race prizegiving on Sunday.
Spectators are welcome to come and watch the race. The main vantage points will be around Goodwood, especially the start and finish at the motor circuit, but spectators are advised road closures will be in place in the area from 9.30am.
Motorists are advised to avoid the Goodwood, Westerton and Halnaker areas between 9.45am and 11am. Advice on alternatives will be provided by marshals along the route.
This year saw the usual large number of entries for the 10km and the race closed well before the deadline. The organisers, the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory, say there will be no entries allowed on the day.
Organisers are grateful for sponsorship from Wannops LLP solicitors, The Run Company and the Portfield Motor Group.
Don’t miss coverage of the race including reports, photographs and list of finishers in the Chichester Observer next week.
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