‘Debris derby’ to bring cheer back to seafront

Dan Bailey
Dan Bailey
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The Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon has beaten the storms that have battered the south coast.

It’s been labelled ‘the debris derby’ as runners get set to converge on Southsea for tomorrow’s big event (9.45am).

But organiser Rob Piggott feels the race can hopefully put smiles back on people’s faces after the misery of recent times.

He said: ‘Our mission with this race is to bring some cheer back to the seafront.

‘It’s been a miserable two months.

‘This all started around the time of the marathon we put on in December. Since then it has been just horrible.

‘We’re calling this the debris derby.’

There’s around 1,000 runners already signed up, with the possibility of more entrants on the day.

Piggott believes the battle for first place in the men’s race is up for grabs this year.

Victory AC star Dan Bailey took the win in tough conditions in 2013 – following on from a brilliant performance by Harry Carter who blazed his way to glory in 2012.

Piggott said: ‘I haven’t noticed either Dan or Harry on the entry list.

‘I’d like it to be a close race at the front.

‘For me on the bike, the lead runners always give me a run for my money.

‘Especially if it’s windy, I’ve got a real struggle on to keep up with them.’

It will be a slightly-altered route this year due to the storm damage.

As well as losing the use of the flooded Pyramids as headquarters, the course itself has taken a pounding from the storms.

Safety concerns about South Parade Pier have posed a problem along Southsea seafront, while there is some damage to Millennium Promenade.

But the challenge of taking on the muddy beach at Milton Common remains unchanged.

See the website fitprorob.biz for more information about the event and any weather-enforced changes to the course.