Race off! Chichester Corporate Challenge scrapped as lockdown restrictions drag on

It had been set to be the first public event in Chichester after so-called 'freedom day' next Monday - but now the Chichester Corporate Challenge has been called off.

One of the junior races at the last Corporate Challenge event held - in March last year / Picture: Derek Martin

In a move that will disappoint hundreds of runners who were looking forward to the city centre race series going ahead from next Wednesday, Chichester Runners have decided that with the government saying there will be no changes to current restrictions before July 19, they had no choice to but to abandon their popular event.

They were worried about social distancing at an event that can attract up to 800 runners and many friends and family members supporting those running.

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The event is normally held on three Wednesday evenings in February and March but this - the 30th running of the races - was put back to June and July after the government named June 21 as the day when remaining lockdown rules would be relaxed.

Action from the 2020 race series / Picture: Derek Martin

Race director Phil Baker is sharing the sad news with those individuals, businesses and schools that had entered.

He said: "Sadly we have had to cancel following the Government's announcement last night. We felt that the necessary social distancing still required would have been very difficult to manage due to the compact nature of the course and the numbers attending the event.

"With restrictions still in place, we also felt that it would not be entirely appropriate to go ahead with the event in the city centre where there are numerous businesses which are still not able to operate at full capacity.

"We have not taken the decision lightly and are sorry to disappoint those who were looking forward to the races. Let us hope that the 2022 Corporate Challenge will be able to take place at the usual time of late February/March."

Anyone who has paid to enter this year's challenge will get a refund.