On your marks for the 2015 Chi Half Marathon

The Krowmark Cup will add an edge to the Chi Half
The Krowmark Cup will add an edge to the Chi Half

The newest big event in the local running calendar is days away.

At 9am on Sunday, BBC South Today’s Sally Taylor will start the Chichester Half Marathon, now in its fourth year since being revived.

She will set off 1,000 or so runners from the race village at Chichester College as they begin the tough challenge of a multi-terrain race, including running up the Trundle, before returning to Chichester via the Lavant Valley and Centurion Way.

In 2012, after a break of some 25 years since the first Chichester Observer Centenary Half Marathon, the half marathon returned but with a completely different course and under new management.

The new event is multi-terrain, not a road race, and is managed by Chichester District Council in conjunction with the locally-based charity Children on the Edge (COTE).

For the council the race is one of many initiatives to encourage more participation in sporting and recreational activities. The race is being run to support Children on the Edge, a Chichester based charity that exists to help some of the most vulnerable children in the world.

James Baker of Chichester Runners will be back to defend his title for a fourth time. It will be interesting to see whether the time of 1.12.24 he set for the course record in 2013 will be beaten – by him or anyone else.

Cllr Eileen Lintill, cabinet member for leisure, well-being, and community services, said: “We are very pleased a wide spectrum of the community will be participating, not just elite runners but people taking part in their first half marathon too.

“Chichester District Council is delighted to be delivering this event in partnership with the charity Children on the Edge. This is a truly inspiring cause to be running for and by entering and taking part runners will be helping a charity where a little really can go a long way.”

Ben Wilkes, UK director of Children on the Edge, said: “We’re really excited for this year because there are some new competitions and prizes, 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.” 

Once again this multi-terrain event is very fortunate to have the backing of some notable local sponsors – Montezuma’s and Store Property.

The route starts in Westgate and travels easterly along West and East Street to Eastgate Square, where it follows the City walls round to Jubilee Park, before the runners make their way across Oaklands Park, towards the Rugby Club and then out through Summersdale and Fordwater into East Lavant Village.

Runners tackle Chalkpit Lane before climbing up to the Trundle from Seven Ways. At the top, runners complete a circuit of the summit. Running back to Seven Ways, they will cross over for a steady downhill two-mile descent into West Dean from where the route picks up the Lavant Valley, returning to Chichester along the Centurion Way cycle route, finishing in the rear college car park.

The race limit of 1,000 runners has virtually been reached and it is unlikely it will possible to enter on the day. The race limit cannot be exceeded.

Many runners are from well-known local running clubs, from Brighton through to Southampton, but just as many are unattached. Sussex and Hampshire are well represented together with runners from Dorset, Surrey, London and Kent – plus some from Cheshire, Humberside and Cornwall.

The largest club contingents come from Chichester Runners and the Tone Zone Runners, who each have 30-plus entrants.

James Baker of Chichester Runners will be back to defend his title for a fourth time. It will be interesting to see whether the time of 1.12.24 he set for the course record in 2013 will be beaten – by him or anyone else.

The women’s event looks very competitive but is likely to have a new winner – at the time of writing, the winners from previous years have not entered. The women’s course record is 1.28.34.

The Works Trophy will be sponsored by local accountancy firm Evans Weir. This is an opportunity for employees of different workplaces to pit themselves against each other by signing up a works team.

New for 2015 is a ‘King and Queen of the Hill’ competition sponsored by the local sports running shop i-run. Runners will compete with each other to see who is the quickest climber of the Trundle between two points – Seven Ways Car Park and the end of the flint track at the point where the course starts to go round the summit. Chip Timing mats will be placed at the beginning and end of the hill section which will be marked with flags and bunting.

Another innovation for 2015 is the Krowmark Trophy, which will see a cup and a cash prize for the fastest club in the race.

The winners will comprise a mixed team, decided by adding together the times of the first three men finishers and women finishers of each club.

Children on the Edge and the sponsors are represented in the race.

You can view more information on the race at www.chichesterhalfmarathon.co.uk and there will be full coverage of the event at www.chichester.co.uk from Sunday and in next Thursday’s Observer.

It is hoped that the people of Chichester will take to the route to encourage the runners on their way.

GRAHAM JESSOP

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