IT is the new landmark sporting event which has captured the imaginations of Hampshire’s running community.

Now organisers of the Associated British Ports (ABP) Southampton Half Marathon have reached another historic moment after selling out in record time.

The 6,000 places for the big race have been snapped up – nine months after the event was launched.

Today organisers Marafun UK praised Sotonians for their overwhelming support and pledged to throw an event to make the city proud.

Nearly 20,000 people will crowd into the city when the starting gun is fired on Sunday, April 26 – the same day as the London Marathon.

The 13.1-mile course, accompanied by a shorter 10k route, starts in Hoglands Park and winds its way across the city, taking in landmarks such as the Bargate, St Mary’s Stadium and the Itchen Bridge, before climaxing at Guildhall Square.

It is being run in partnership with ABP, with the Daily Echo as media partners.

Race director Chris Rees, who initially anticipated places to sell out by March 15, said: “We are so flabbergasted, amazed and ecstatic.

“It is absolutely fantastic that so many people have been wanting to get involved in an event on their doorstep.

“It’s been an emotional journey and a lot of planning. But now our hard work is just beginning.

“With 66 days to go we are going to make sure we are putting on a race that will make Southampton proud.”

About 47 per cent of those running are first timers, while runners have already pledged £100,000 towards good causes by running on behalf of local and national charities.

Mile makers Community groups and charities have also signed up as ABP ‘mile makers’, motivating runners and raising their spirits by laying on trackside entertainment and activities.

Volunteers are needed to serve as individual mile makers and help out at water stations.

Contact 023 8025 4751 or email run@marafunuk.com to volunteer.