The elite to set pace at the Half Marathon.
In less than two weeks, some of the top athletes in England will be racing around the leafy lanes of Wilmslow and Mobberley chasing the honour of being crowned “English Half Marathon Champion”.
For the second year running the Asics Wilmslow Half Marathon has been selected by England Athletics to incorporate the English Half Marathon championships within the already highly successful and prestigious race.
Sunday March 28th will see the 26th running of the event and entries were closed by the first week in January, when the limit of 4,800 entries was reached. The runners leave the start line on Kings Road Wilmslow when the gun goes at 10.30.
Additional interest has been created as a result of the number of elite athletes racing .Many internationals will be on show chasing national glory but also to gain qualifying times for the 2010 Commonwealth games to be held in Delhi.
It is expected that 2009 English champion Mark Miles of Belgrave Harriers will defend his title. Last year he was chased all the way of the 13.1 miles by local internationals Andi Jones (2nd) and Thomas Abyu (3rd) both representing Salford Harriers.
Another international sure to be back is ladies champion for the last three years, Michelle Ross –Cope from the City of Stoke club.
Over the last 20 years numbers have increased from 1100 in 1991 to the current levels of close to 5,000 resulting in a complete road closure on the course and supported by Cheshire Police. Residents should be aware of this as traffic will be disrupted and even when the roads are reopened, expect large tail backs.
The race is not just about the front end and the internationals on display.
Many local runners will use the event sponsored by ASICS as a chance to raise money for charitable causes as well as this year’s official race charity Mencap.
“It’s a huge fundraising event and people come from miles around to raise thousands of pounds for different charities each year. Mencap is the lead charity this year. It’s a very worthy cause and we hope that people will support them.
Charlotte Porter, Senior Fundraiser for Mencap North West comments, “We are thrilled that we have been chosen this year as the charity partner and it is a great opportunity for us to raise our profile and some much needed funds. We’re hoping to raise £20,000 to support people with a learning disability in the region.”
Put the date in your diary and see some of the countries elite athletes race the course for the prestige of being crowned “English Half Marathon Champion “ in just minutes over the hour , but equally spare a thought for those pounding the roads for charity who will be on their feet for well over two hours . …….And if seeing the thousands of runners inspires you to have a go in 2011, you need to be fast. Entries close fast and always by early in each New Year.
Check the Asics Wilmslow Half Marathon website http://www.wilmslowhalf.org.uk/ in the autumn to get details of the 2011 race.