Organisers of the Chichester Priory 10k have put up the ‘full house’ signs for tomorrow’s 21st running of the race after receiving 2,000 entries.
In 1991, fewer than 1,000 runners took part in the inaugural run, which has since established itself as a prestigious event and a vehicle for raising considerable funds for charities.
The 10k is one of the major road races in the road-running calendar and its success means this year’s event is again extremely popular, with runners from all over England competing.
Tomorrow’s run, which is likely to see more than 1,600 running on the day, has a number of changes – an earlier start time, a new start position and a revised route for the first 2k. No entries will be accepted on the day.
The 10.30am start is in College Lane and the runners head north before turning into Graylingwell Park and joining the previous route at Barnfield Drive.
Among the athletes turning out for City of Portsmouth AC tomorrow are Emma Montiel and Tracy Burrows, while Natalie Wettler – who competes for Eastleigh but lives in Drayton and is coached by Portsmouth’s Gerry North – will also be in action.
Both Montiel and Wettler are aiming to post sub-40-minute times.
Two of City’s top competitors, Karrie Blake and Cassie Thorp, will not be on the start line, though.
The duo would have been among the favourites for the women’s title but Thorp has only just recovered from an Achilles injury and Blake was in hospital this week to undergo an operation.
For the second year running, one of the biggest club entries is from Tone Zone in Bognor, while Chichester Runners have nearly 30 runners entered.
One of their club members, James Baker, will once again be challenging for the honours in the men’s race.
Others who are expected to be in the hunt for victory include Chris Powner (Winchester AC) – winner of the recent Stubbington Green 10k, Jermaine Mays (Kent AC), Neil Gamester (Shaftesbury Barnet), Michael Johnson (Bristol & West AC) and Thomas Payn (Winchester AC).
The women’s race again looks a high-standard contest and there’s a chance Hampshire’s Olympic hopeful Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC), the current English national 10-mile road champion, will race.
Purdue was second in the Edinburgh 10k and fourth in the Bupa Great South Run in October.
There is special prize for any male or female runner who breaks the course record – 29.02 for men and 32.07 for women.
For the sixth year running, the race has the same sponsors – local Volkswagen dealership Peter Cooper and international shoe company Brooks.
Spectators are welcome at the start and finish in the Northgate Car Park and along the route – out to Westhampnett roundabout, round the Goodwood Airfield to Pook Lane, and back down the Lavant Road.
Motorists should avoid the area between 10.30am and 11.30am.