James Baker will be aiming to defend his title as he lines up tomorrow for the biggest Hayling 10 yet.
The popularity of the fast, flat 10-mile race, hosted by Havant Athletics Club, continues to grow and entries have closed with the limit on numbers already reached.
Baker won last year and also won the Hayling five-mile race in the summer.
He’s been dominant on the current course, which includes a section on the Hayling Billy trail.
Havant coach Mike Williams believes it is ideal for people chasing best times.
He feels that is a big reason for the increase in popularity.
He said: ‘We have had a really good response this year, with close to 600 entrants.
‘Last year we took just over 400 entries and had 380 finishers.
‘It’s a big increase. It’s a fairly new course so maybe word is getting around that it is good.
‘Everybody seems to enjoy it. There are no bumps at all.
‘If the weather is good you get nice views all along the seafront but it can be a bit blowy down on Hayling.’
Williams believes Baker will be the one to beat on the day.
The Chichester athlete has been in good form, finishing fifth in the hotly-contested Gosport Half Marathon recently.
Williams added: ‘James Baker is always there. He is a very good supporter of local races. He won it last year.
‘The winning time could be sub 53 if weather conditions are right on the day. It should be a good race.’
The Hayling 10 starts at 10am in Bacon Lane tomorrow. The runners head through West Town, up West Lane, and back down the Hayling Billy.
They head along Ferry Road, turn back seafront, out to Eastoke and back, before finishing in Hayling Park.
Race director Colin Goater is hopeful the weather will be good to give the runners an extra boost on the day.
He said: ‘The weather forecast seems favourable and hopefully we should see some fast times again.’