THE path is open for a new winner to be crowned as the sell-out Stubbington 10k returns for it’s 32nd edition tomorrow.
In 2014 Southampton’s Alex Wall-Clarke earned the win and in 2015 it was Winchester’s Toby Lambert.
Last year Aldershot, Farnham & District athlete Joe Wade took the title.
But none of the three have entered this time.
Race director Kevin Ashman is predicting an exciting event as he prepares to welcome nearly 2,000 runners to the start line.
He said: ‘People know the atmosphere will be friendly and they like the course.
‘This is the 32nd year of the event and we’ve taken 1,950 entries, 50 up on last year. The race always sells out because it is so well established.
‘I don’t think we’ve got any former winners racing it, I haven’t checked through all the names but I know Joe Wade, who won it last year, hasn’t entered.
‘I’m not absolutely certain but I think we will have a new winner.
‘It will be good to see if we can get some fast times.
‘There’s been no problems with the course in the build up, no floods or road works, so everything is good.’
The race is based at Crofton Community Centre, PO14 2PP and starts at 10am.
With the event being part of the Hampshire Road Race League it always attracts a good club turnout.
Fareham Crusaders have 113 entrants and both their men’s and ladies’ A teams are gunning for promotion in the league this season.
Farnham Runners have the 2016 ladies’ champion Sarah Hill, who has entered again, among their line-up.
Gosport Road Runners are very well represented with 83 entrants.
Havant-based club Victory have 61 listed entrants and Portsmouth Joggers have 56 entries.
Hosts Stubbington Green Runners have 71 entrants, as well as lots of club members helping out at the event on the day.
Many of the runners will be eager to see how their form is shaping up after the Christmas break as winter training is stepped up.
Ashman added: ‘The race certainly is a good way to start the year.
‘Being part of the league ensures all the clubs involved send strong teams.
‘We have runners of all different abilities taking part.
‘A lot of people are involved in the build up.
‘The marshals are always fantastic and on the day we have more than 140 volunteers, with the local scouts and the church helping out.
‘A H Freemantle are our main sponsors and we have Absolute Running, from Gosport, here on the day along with Knott Kinetics.’
This year money raised from the race will go to the charity Canine Partners and also Fit for Felix, in support of young athlete Felix Barrow who was knocked down by a car outside his home in Swanmore, in October 2015.