Chichester and its neighbouring communities are very well served by road races these days.
No sooner have we had the Priory 10k than it’s time for the Corporate Challenge, which started last Wednesday. There are a couple of summer races – and then its half marathon time again.
The fourth Chichester Half Marathon since its relaunch in 2012 is programmed for Sunday, October 11. The race will start at 9am and will again be based at Chichester College.
The race was revived and revamped after a 25-year absence. It is a challenging multi-terrain half marathon which takes in the major city-centre sights, including the cathedral, Market Cross and Roman walls as well as spectacular rural scenery round Lavant and Goodwood. The terrain is a good mixture of road, paths,cycle tracks and cross country.
Registration for this year’s event has already opened and early entry is recommended with organisers expecting a record turnout of both local runners and those from further afield.
The course 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.
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 is 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 – a distance of just over 13 miles.
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.
The race is suitable for anyone over 17 and all abilities, from the beginner to the more experienced runner, and this year the organisers hope even more people will take up the challenge.
Organisers are currently considering different ways in which the appeal of the event could be enhanced and indeed widened. These developments will be announced before Easter.
For 2014 a corporate business challenge was introduced for the first time and will be repeated in 2015 because it was so successful. It involves teams of three competing against each other to win the half marathon business challenge. It might be a financial institution, a local manufacturing industry, a service industry, a professional partnership or a public house team. If the numbers entered are large then the organisers will consider a number of categories.
The half marathon is managed by Chichester District Council and Children on the Edge (COTE), a locally-based charity helping vulnerable children across the globe.
Ben Wilkes, UK director of COTE, said: “It’s been amazing to be part of the growth of this event over the past few years. Each year the momentum grows, we offer new and exciting challenges and we support more forgotten children across the globe. We’re proud to have the Chichester community supporting our work and getting behind what’s fast becoming an iconic race.”
Eileen Lintill, cabinet member for wellbeing and community services at Chichester District Council, said: “If you’re looking for a challenge in 2015 and want to help a good cause, this could be the perfect event. We’re delighted to be delivering the half marathon in partnership with the charity Children on the Edge for a fourth year.”
There is a race limit of 1,500 runners but these are expected to be taken up 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 this increased interest it is likely that the course records for the men (James Baker – 1hr 12min 25sec) and for the women (Jen Bishop 1hr 28min 29sec) will be broken.
Training advice and guidance on preparation for the event will be available on the half marathon website, as is further information at www.chichester.gov.uk – while full coverage of the race will be carried in the Observer series and at www.chichester.co.uk