Keen athletes will be dusting off their running shoes in preparation for one of the most eagerly awaited events in the Horsham sporting calender - the Barns Green Half Marathon.
This Sunday’s race (September 29) will be the 31st of its kind and will once again see hordes of runners snake through the lanes of Barns Green, Itchingfield, Christ’s Hospital and near to Southwater in some of the most scenic countryside in West Sussex.
England forward Joe Launchbury is to start this year’s race.
The 6ft 6ins tall Wasps star and former Christ’s Hospital Schoolboy and Barns Green player has played 11 times for England and will cut a familiar figure when it gets underway this Sunday at 11am.
Last year saw more than 1,500 competitors take part, cheered on by the watching crowds and after the success of last year the popular Christ’s Hospital School marching band will again be providing the sound track as the runners tread through the school grounds.
The race is always a great spectacle and there may well be some record breaking performances.
In 2010 the race was won by the superb Kenyan athlete, 20-year-old Edwin Kipyego who ran an astonishing race finishing in a time of 1 hour 4 minutes 28 seconds, almost six minutes ahead of the second placed athlete. Kipyego knocked 21 seconds off the course record which had stood for 24 years.
However the race is not just for serious athletes. Runners of all abilities take part in this great local event and make it one of the great annual spectacles in the village. There is even an opportunity for runners to dress up in fancy dress to run the race with a prize for the best outfit sponsored by Chilli Pepper TV.
The race has a new sponsor in house builder Berkeley, while this year’s chosen charity is Chestnut Tree House, the only children’s hospice in West Sussex.
The Barns Green Half Marathon starts at 11am on Sunday, September 29. It is a great occasion in the village with lots going on the Village Green and spectators are welcome. There are stalls and lots of entertainment for the kids. Runners can register online or on the day but everyone is encouraged to get to Barns Green ideally by 10am to avoid traffic delays. For details go to www.barnsgreen-half.org.uk
This year’s race will be started by a top England and Wasps rugby star who has close connections to the local area.
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