Portsmouth marathon will bring plenty of Christmas cheer
RACE organiser Rob Piggott is looking forward to another bumper festive event on Sunday.
The popular Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon has sold out again.
Registration is at the Pyramids, Southsea, and the start will be at South Parade Pier, with the runners walking down for 9am.
For most of the entrants it is the final big run of 2016.
Many will be chasing course bests, while for others it will be their first marathon, or the chance to get in a challenging long run before the Christmas party season really kicks in.
Gosport Road Runners, Fareham Crusaders, Portsmouth Triathletes, Victory, Stubbington Green Runners, Denmead Striders and Portsmouth Joggers are all well represented among the entrants.
Great Britain international Steve Way, who runs for Bournemouth, won the race in 2015 with a time of 2hr 47min 20sec.
Jess Gray, of Watford Joggers, finished first lady in 3.18.59.
Neither will be returning to defend their titles so new champions will be crowned tomorrow.
Piggott said: ‘This is fast becoming one of the flagship events in Portsmouth.
‘We sold out quite a few times because we increased the numbers and then still sold out. We’ve got 1,300 entrants.
‘The course is looking good, we’ve had a few problems around Bedhampton where the coastal defences have taken a bit of a battering.
‘But the Eastern Road bit is really nice now.
‘It’s fantastic, like a running track along there.
‘Everyone will enjoy it, that will be a big difference from last year when it was rough and ready.
‘The Hayling Billy Line is also better now.
‘This year runners will have to come back via Ironbridge Lane to Bransbury Park due to the low tides.’
Although the course is flat, it has plenty of off-road sections with some mud to add to the test.
Piggott added: ‘We’ve got two people doing their 100th marathons and one guy who is running his 20th marathon of the year.
‘The atmosphere will be very festive. It’s an end of year run and it always creates a good occasion.
‘Many of the local club runners have been out there training on the course and will know it well.’
Next year Piggott, who runs Believe & Achieve Events and Personal Training in Portsmouth, is bringing back the festive ultra and the half-marathon alongside the marathon.
Last weekend their Santa fun runs proved very popular, especially the new snowflake challenge to do the mile, 5k and the 10k.
Some of the santa outfits may well make a reappearance on Sunday.
‘I think there will be a couple of santas,’ added Piggott.
‘The snowflake challenge proved really popular with 400 people doing all three.
‘It was a brilliant effort. Well done to everyone.’