Portsmouth half marathon takes new course after storm damage

This year's race start will be different to the 2015 edition
This year's race start will be different to the 2015 edition
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Champion Piotr Meller with duathlon organiser Rob Piggot.  Picture: Neil Marshall (170306-18)

Defending champion ready for Portsmouth Duathlon mission

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The Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon has an exciting new course to challenge runners tomorrow.

Organiser Rob Piggott has had to change the route after storm damage to the sea defences in Southsea in December.

The race normally starts on the seafront outside the Pyramids but that is not currently possible with the repair work taking place there.

Instead the runners will start by the side of the Pyramids car park and do a small loop along the Southsea Castle lower and upper paths, before heading out to the seafront.

The Old Portsmouth section of the route has had to be removed, so that means a longer stretch down Eastern Road, up to the Watersports Centre, and then back to the finish at the Pyramids.

Piggott is pleased to have more than 1,100 runners signed up for the Valentine’s edition of the race.

He said: ‘It is a new course so that will be exciting.

‘We have had to change it with everything that happened on the seafront around Christmas time because that left us with no start.

‘I went down there straight away to look at it and it was clear we needed to change things, so we have put a plan in place.

‘Now we are all fit and ready to go for the race.’

Victory club runner Dan Bailey won the race in 2011 and 2013.

He is in good form after a strong run in the Ryde 10 last weekend.

Portsmouth duathlon champion and Southsea parkrun regular Emma Jolley will also be in action.

She has also been running well recently, after winning the first edition of the Portsmouth Joggers’ new Chilly Hilly race at Queen Elizabeth Country Park.

Piggott added: ‘It’s good to have Dan back again and Emma is our duathlon series champion, so we know she is very strong.

‘I’m sure there will be some good competition.

‘This is a local event and it attracts a good turnout from the clubs.

‘Everyone is teaming up together and making all these kind of events a success.’

There is a special Valentine’s team prize for the lowest aggregate for groups of 10, made up of five females and five males.

As well as the experienced runners and club runners there will be many who have signed up to target a personal best, raise money for charity, or to complete the distance for the first time.

The race starts at 9.45am and there will be some entries taken on the day.

After this the next event organised by Piggott’s company, Believe & Achieve, is the St Patrick’s Day Run at Old Portsmouth Square Tower on Thursday, March 17 (7pm).

The Portsmouth Duathlon Series starts on Sunday, March 20.