Entries for the ABP Southampton Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k close on 15 March and organisers expect the remaining spaces to be snapped up quickly.
Already more than 7000 people are set to lace up their trainers and take part on Sunday, 23 April. Around 5,200 will take part in the half marathon and 10k distances while the remainder have signed up for the full 26.2 mile distance. It is the first time in more than 30 years that Southampton has hosted a full marathon and race director Chris Rees says the addition of the new element has provided a real boost.
“There’s a real excitement among runners about the full marathon,” he said. “For the younger generation it’s their first ever opportunity to take part in a full marathon in the city. And for those who remember it the first time around, it’s brought a real sense of nostalgia.”
Among those who have signed up to take part in the full marathon is Jon Vamplew, who ran the last full marathon in Southampton in 1984. He said: “I had no intentions of running another marathon but when I heard there would be one in my hometown again I couldn’t resist. The power of thousands of runners and supporters equals an awesome buzz, for both the runners and the supporters.”
The full marathon is two laps of the half marathon route - keeping the event within the confines of the city centre and meaning supporters don’t have to travel as far to cheer on their friends and family running.
Guildhall Square will once again act as the start and finish point, offering plenty of places for supporters to get food and drink while they wait for their buddies to cross the finish line. A host of entertainment will bring a buzz to the area, with music from live bands and local performers.
Runners taking part can be guaranteed words of encouragement as they pound the pavement. ABP Port of Southampton, which sponsors the event, has arranged for teams of ‘milemakers’ to line the route and cheer on runners. In total there is set to be an army of more than 750 ABP Milemakers, ranging from scouts and brownies to local residents and charity volunteers.
Alastair Welch, ABP Southampton director, said: “Anyone who is in two minds about signing up can rest assured that they’ll be given huge encouragement on the day from our milemakers. The buzz they create in the city is palpable and runners in previous events have told us what a difference it makes as they face those last difficult miles.”
To sign up visit the event website.