Are you up for Chichester’s big challenge?

THERE are just under three weeks to go before this year’s Corporate Challenge road race series gets under way in Chichester.

THERE are just under three weeks to go before this year’s Corporate Challenge road race series gets under way in Chichester.

Entries are pouring in from new teams as well as established squads keen to take up the challenge of the fast city-centre circuit.

As usual the senior event will be split into two races with the faster runners going in the A race with those who reckon they can do the 4,500 metres in 18 minutes or less.

Then the massed ranks of the B race will feature those up to and, in some cases, beyond the 30-minute barrier.

Team-wise the DSTL Naval Systems quartet from Portsdown have been unassailable in recent years but there will be the usual challenge from private firms, local council departments, university staff and a variety of works outfits.

In the sports and colleges category things are wide open, with some of the local schools’ sixth-formers able to challenge their older rivals.

In the junior age groups it will be the primary boys, followed by the girls, who will get proceedings under way with approaching 100 runners in each event on the tight 700m junior event.

The secondary schools’ category has been improving in standard throughout the past decade.

But it is still ex-Chichester High School pupil Charlotte Browning who holds most of the records for the girls’ age groups.

As far as the senior records go, ex-Commonwealth 1,500m champion Michael East has now resumed training again having retired from the sport at the end of his track career and may well be able to attack his course record of 12min 39sec set in 2008.

The women’s record is now nearly 15 years old having been set by international Zara Hyde Peters in 1996. Now an occasional athlete, Hyde Peters is better known these days as a GB team manager, but she thinks her record of 14min 15sec should be broken soon.

The first of the three race evenings takes place on Wednesday, March 2, with the remaining two on March 16 and 30. T

There is still time to enter and forms can be obtained from the Chichester Corporate Challenge website or the Chichester Runners noticeboard at Westgate Leisure.

The Observer will, as usual, carry reports from each of the races and will publish a full list of finishers from every race.

PHIL BAKER