IT IS the hallowed turf that only a few privileged players get the chance to play on.

But now thousands of runners are set to get the chance to run from box to box at St Mary’s stadium. This year the ABP Southampton Half Marathon and 10k have announced that the iconic city landmark will be part of its route. Entrants will run through the 32,505-seater stadium for the event on April 24.

The stars of Southampton FC are no strangers to the event, which last year saw legends Franny Benali and Matt Le Tissier pound the city’s pavements and take on the half marathon.

They will return this year, along with current club chairman, Ralph Krueger, to raise money for Saints Foundation – the charitable arm of the football club that helps to raise valuable funds for vulnerable adults and young people in living in the Southampton and the surrounding area.

Bosses of this year’s event hope it will attract more than 10,000 runners and exceed the £100,000 figure raised for local causes last year.

Daily Echo:

Director of ABP Southampton Nick Ridehalgh said: “We are proud that the race is returning bigger and better than before, and that the new route shows off even more of what Southampton has to offer. Runners will now pass through one of the city’s best-known landmarks, the home of Saints."

“When I took part in the 10k last year, I was so impressed with the level of support and sheer enthusiasm from everyone. The port has been part of the city for 177 years or so and in that time has shared many memorable events, but none more uplifting than the this.

“We have no doubt runners will enjoy the new addition to the race. Who knows, perhaps they will bump into Franny, Matt or Ralph en route.”

Race director, Chris Rees said: “After the success of last year’s event, we are so excited that it the ABP Southampton Half Marathon and 10k has become an eagerly awaited fixture in the city’s sporting calendar and that St Mary’s is throwing its weight behind it.

“We can’t wait for the whole city to get involved one way or another, – be that racing, being ABP Milemakers or supporting from the sidelines.”