Just simply saying ‘Chichester Half Marathon’ recalls the success of the revived 2012 event which has had such great appeal for so many people in the area over the last few years. The 'Chi Half' is a challenging and beautiful ‘multi-terrain’ half marathon which one runner has described as “an iconic South Coast race, a must for any serious runner”.
The 2015 event, which takes place on Sunday 11th October, was launched nearly three months ago and the organisers have been overwhelmed with the response to date. Last year the event hosted nearly 1,000 runners but this year the organisers have been able to increase the entry limit to 1500 runners on account of their experience from previous years and also some minor tweaks in the course cutting out some of the pinch points. At the end of June nearly 500 runners have already entered with more entries at this stage are coming in thick and fast.
The event is organised by the Chichester based charity, Children on the Edge, in conjunction with Chichester District Council. Ben Wilkes, Head of Children on the Edge in the UK says “The Chichester Half has been going from strength to strength each year since we revived it in 2012. We’re really excited for this year, 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”.
Councillor Eileen Lintill, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Wellbeing and Community Services at Chichester District Council, says “The Chichester Half Marathon is a real community event and we are very pleased to be working in partnership with the wonderful charity, Children on the Edge. Runners will enjoy the scenic route, and for those that would love to tackle the challenge, but have never done anything like this before, organisers can provide support and training to help people achieve their goals. I hope as many people as possible from across the district will give it a go”
All about the event
The 2015 event will be another fantastic opportunity for runners not only to take part in what is becoming a very popular race but also one that takes in the major City Centre sights and landmarks as well as spectacular rural scenery. The terrain is a good mixture of road, paths, cycle tracks and cross country.
The race will start at 9.a.m. on October 11th. It is based at Chichester College, where a Race Village will be set up and will take in the City Centre as well as the surrounding Lavant and Goodwood countryside. It 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 Village. Stunning downland scenery provides the backdrop for the runners to tackle Chalkpit Lane before climbing up to the Trundle from Five ways where runners have stunning views of the Solent. The next 2 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.
The event is suitable for people of all abilities (over the age of 17) from the beginner to the more experienced runner, and this year we hope even more people will take up the challenge. A full training programme is given on the web site but you are advised to start training now. If you want to get involved, but don’t feel able to take part, we are also looking for volunteers. Their role is vital in making the event happen.”
The organisers are indeed most fortunate that the notable local sponsors of the first multi-terrain event - Montezuma’s and Store Property are again the main sponsors of the event. Both these organisations have directors who are keen athletes.
The Evans Weir Works Trophy
The works trophy proved very popular when it was introduced for the first time in 2014 and again will be promoted in 2015. It will be sponsored by Evans Weir, a Chichester firm of Accountants, who will also be providing a VIP tent and photo opportunities for the teams. It is expected that the team from Wiggle Cycles, winners in 2014, will be back to defend the Evans Weir Trophy but early indications are that many more businesses are considering entering this year’s event.
Any organisation or business can enter as many people as they wish to compete for the Evans Weir Trophy. It is the first three finishers on race day who will make up the scoring team. Each workplace registering five or more runners is eligible to receive a complimentary training workshop from the organisers and any business signing up more than 10 runners will have the 10th place free. Once the Works Trophy team members are registered all the team manager needs to do is e-mail email@example.com with the team name and a list of competitors who have entered. Helen Pattinson (Co-Founder of Montezumas, one of our main sponsors) said of the Works Trophy - “There’s nothing like the prospect of your work colleagues watching you run a race to motivate you to get out training. We have ten people in the business who are a lot fitter than they were!”
King and Queen of the Hill
New for 2015 is a King and Queen of the Hill competition which is being sponsored by the local sports running shop, i-run. Runners, male and female 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 beach flags and bunting. To be eligible runners must enter the half marathon, start the race in Westgate, complete the Hill climb section and also be a recorded as a finisher in the Chichester College car park.
Krowmark Club Trophy
Another innovation for 2015 is the Krowmark Trophy named after the local firm sponsoring the award. There will be 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 1st 3 men finishers and 1st 3 women finishers of each club. This award is in addition to the usual prizes given to the winning men’s and women’s teams.
Heading the individual entries is likely to be last year’s winner James Baker of the local Chichester club and on his day is rarely beaten in the area. With this increased interest in the ‘Chi half’ it is expected that James will challenge his course record 1.12.24 and the women’s course record of 1.30.44 held by Kari Mack of Tone Zone Runners could also be at risk.
James will be joined by at least 300 other club runners including a good representation from Chichester Runners and Tone Zone Runners. The race is not only for club runners and indeed three quarters of the entrants, to date, are unattached with an equal balance of male and female entrants. As a guide to performance all competitors last year were back within about two and a half hours of the start. The entry list also has five representatives of our sponsors.
In view of the overwhelming support for the event, prospective runners are advised to get their entries in early to ensure a place. On the grounds of health and safety and in fairness to runners who do enter on time the organisers regret that the race limit cannot be exceeded. You can sign up at www.chichesterhalfmarathon.co.uk . Training advice and guidance on preparation for the event is also available on the half marathon web site as is further information at www.chichester.gov.uk. Coverage prior to the event and the race itself will be contained in future editions of the Chichester Observer.
1st July 2015.