Sunday will bring a sure sign sport is back to something like normal when the Chichester Half Marathon returns after a year off.
Around 500 runners will tackle the challenging 13-mile course, having missed out last year when the big race was called off because of Covid.
It begins at 9am from Westgate, just outside the Chichester College race village, and is set to be as popular as it has proved every autumn since being revived in a new multi-terrain format in 2012.
Organised by Everyone Active, the route is a mixture of road, footpaths, cycle tracks and bridleways over chalk, flint, downland grass, fields – and mud.
Race director Graham Jessop said: “It is challenging both because of the varying terrains and the steep ascents and descents. Runners will also be able to take in the major city centre sights and landmarks as well as spectacular rural scenery in the Lavant and Goodwood countryside.
“The event includes a ten-mile course as well as a three-person relay.
“After an absence of major running events for some time it will be interesting to see how the runners fare.”
All the local athletics clubs will be well represented and runners will come from Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey, London and Kent.
The largest contingents come from Chichester Runners and Bognor’sTone Zone Runners, who each have 30 plus entrants.
Jessop said: “We’re pleased to see James Baker of Chichester Runners is back to defend his title and look for a ninth straight win.
“He has been the first local man home in the Chichester Priory 10k many times and has won scores of other local races.
“It will be interesting to see if he or a rival runner will beat the course record time of 1.11.52 he set a few years ago. We hope the people of Chichester will come out and cheer on the runners.”
There is still time to enter Sunday’s Half Marathon. You can sign up at www.everyoneactive.com/news/chichester-half-marathon – but entries close at midnight tomorrow.
Also sought are more volunteers to help on the day – get in touch through the website.