On your marks for town’s half-marathon

Eastbourne Half Marathon
Eastbourne Half Marathon

Get set, ready, go – it’s time to line up for this year’s Eastbourne Hospitality Association Half Marathon on Sunday (March 2).

This year’s 13.1-mile race, which starts at 10am from Princes Park and winds its way along the seafront, up to Meads, then down to Sovereign Harbour and back to the park, is the 10th anniversary of the popular event.

Organiser Rupert Ashcroft said, “The Eastbourne Half is very much a community event and is most definitely aimed at runners of all abilities.

“We as organisers are just as excited at seeing the last person finish as we are the first.”

For the benefit of all runners and the public generally the organisers are putting on entertainment around the course. Last year saw the hugely popular Pentacle Drummers at the bandstand and all runners asked for more. So this year there will be two drumming bands, a silver band, buskers and a Scottish piper.

Also watch out for the girls at the 11-mile mark.

Reid+Dean is sponsoring the event yet again and there will be a professional warm-up courtesy of Jason of Fitness Boot Camp who also runs training sessions for those starting out on the road to fitness.

“We started off organising the Half Marathon almost for fun alone but that has changed over the years,” said Rupert, “and now the event has become a landmark in the running calendar. The entry has grown year on year with a target of 2,000 set for 2014.”

Sponsorship plays a major part and in addition to people raising money for their own favourite charities, around £12-15,000 is generated and donated every year.

There are always two headline beneficiaries and smaller donations are also made to help sports clubs, school and societies fulfil a special project. In 2014 The Half Marathon is supporting Chestnut Tree Children’s Hospice and Save the DGH.

There are two junior races, a 1k for under 12s starting at 10.15am and a 2k for under-17s starting at 10.30am. Youngsters can sign up to race on the day, from 8am-9.45am.

For more information see www.eastbournehalf.co.uk

Watch out for the Herald photographer along the course – and see next week’s paper for four pages of coverage.