Chichester 10k organisers: We're gutted but we had to axe 2021 race

Organisers of the Chichester Priory 10k say they are gutted to have to call off the February 2021 race.

The start of this year's race - and organisers say there's no way they could accommodate decent numbers and keep people properly distanced / Picture: Derek Martin
The start of this year's race - and organisers say there's no way they could accommodate decent numbers and keep people properly distanced / Picture: Derek Martin

They said the decision to cancel the high-profile race was easy – the hard bit was deciding when to do it.

Because of the need to start spending on planning, and the likelihood that an event involving more than 1,000 runners not being allowed even by early next year, they had no choice but to act early.

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The race is organised by the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory, who use it to raise large sums for charity.

Apart from that aspect, the Goodwood-based event draws top-level UK runners, and its loss is another major blow to the Sussex sporting scene.

Race director Graham Jessop said the race HQ, inside the Goodwood motor circuit, would be a very difficult spot to keep people safely distanced, even with reduced numbers.

He said the 10k cost more than £20,000 to put on even before the first runner signed up – and planning it then having to postpone would have led to big losses.

Jessop said: “The event management team is gutted and disappointed that the event has had to be cancelled but just could not see the way clear to safely meet the requirements.”

A statement by the 10k organisers and reported first at chichester.co.uk said: “Due to Covid-19 and the associated current social distancing requirements and advice, we are unable to plan an event in February 2021 which will be safe for our runners, spectators and helpers.

“Our race environment does not easily lend itself to social distancing with the numbers of runners, spectators and helpers involved.

“We are also of a view, given the prediction of the professional advisers, that social distancing restrictions will not have significantly ‘improved’ by early next year.

“We understand this will be disappointing news to all those who were planning to be involved with the event but safety is our number one priority.”

The 10k call-off comes a few weeks after the October 2020 renewal of Chichester’s other major race, the half marathon, went the same way.