8:10am Saturday 23rd March 2013
A record field will compete in one of the south’s premier road races this weekend.
The B&Q Eastleigh 10k has attracted 2,600 competitors for tomorrow’s event, marking the biggest entry list in its 28-year history.
There has already been one hotly-contested race in the town this year, in last month’s by-election.
But this has the potential to be an even closer battle, as a host of elite runners descend on Eastleigh to fight it out on the fast and flat course.
The race, which is one of the top 10k events in the country, will feature four stand-out entries in the men’s section.
Adam Hickey (Southend) is a Great Britain and England runner, who finished eighth at the European Cross Country trials in November.
Elite field He will be up against Chris Powner (Winchester AC), who was second in last year’s Eastleigh 10k, as well as Rob Mullett (Lewes) and Matt Bond (Sale).
Among the elite women competitors will be Caroline Hoyte (Arena 80 AC), who won the race in 2003.
A total of £3,800 worth of prizes will be awarded, with the improved financial rewards helping to entice more top runners to the event.
The 2011 men’s champion and star local competitor John Beattie has been forced to miss the race through injury.
But he has been assisting the race director, Steve Collins, in assembling the elite field.
Beattie said: “Whilst I am annoyed to have to miss the race with injury, it has been an enjoyable experience trying to recruit athletes for the race.
“I have always been loyal to my roots and want to see Eastleigh regain its status as one of the premier 10ks in the UK.”
After the 10k race, the B&Q Eastleigh 2k Fun Run will begin, featuring more than 600 young children.
Both events will support the Mayor of Eastleigh’s appeal, together with the Wave 105 ‘Cash for Kids’ appeal, and WaterAid Zambia.
Collins said: “The B&Q 2k Fun Run is such a great event as it encourages young children to run, be healthy, and have fun at the same time.”
He added: “What makes it so special is that around 600 local children will be running to help other children less fortunate.
“For instance, in Zambia, many young children walk much further than 2k to carry water every day, so by running 2k they can help to provide safe, clean water to an area of Zambia.”
B&Q CEO Martyn Phillips, addressing runners in the race programme, said: “I hope that once again many charities and community groups are able to benefit from the funds raised on the day.”
The Eastleigh 10k begins from Fleming Park Leisure Centre at 10am, with the 2k Fun Run starting at 12.15pm.
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