On your marks! All systems go for Chichester city road races

Chichester Runners are pressing ahead with plans to save the city’s popular Corporate Challenge road race series by staging them in June and July.

Action from last year's Chichester Corporate Challenge - but this year's will be in daylight / Picture: Derek Martin
Action from last year's Chichester Corporate Challenge - but this year's will be in daylight / Picture: Derek Martin

The first race night is planned for June 23 - in the week in which many more UK lockdown restrictions are due to end – making it one of the first large events Chichester will have seen for more than year. And the plans make the challenge, which had two race nights in 2020 just before the first lockdown, one of very few sporting events which will not have had one year’s events called off because of the pandemic.

Following the latest government announcements about the roadmap out of lockdown, race organisers are confident the 30th edition of the series will go ahead.

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While most athletics in recent months has been held at secure locations such as running tracks and private land, the Chi races will follow their normal route around the streets of the city.

Race director Phil Baker said: “Comments received from competitors over the years show it is running through the historic city centre which gives the event its unique appeal. With confirmation the final easing of national restrictions is on target for June 21, the opening races will take place on Wednesday 23 followed by others on July 7 and 21.”

A full race programme will see Year 5 and 6 pupils compete at 6.30pm, followed by secondary school then adult runners.

Baker said: “It will make a change for runners to run in the light and all eyes will be on the present crop of juniors to see if they can emulate those who have gone before.

“While runners of all ages will be looking forward to a return to racing, the chance to enter competitions will be especially welcomed by the younger runners who have missed out in an important time in their development.”

Workplace teams will also compete for honours.

It will be the 30th running of the series which started on a much smaller scale in 1992. Since then nearly 50,000 runners have competed.

Organisers will be out to ensure the safety of runners and spectators.

Entry forms are available from the Chichester Runners website or from race director Baker by email at [email protected]