All you need to know about the 2018 Colchester Half Marathon on March 25
Thousands of runners will take their place on the starting line at the Colchester Half Marathon this weekend, but don’t be late!
The annual event, now in its eighth year, starts at 9am on Sunday, March 25 at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, but runners are reminded the clocks go forward in the early hours so more than one alarm call may be needed.
The home of Colchester United is also where the race ends after runners are taken along Colchester High Street, past the town hall and castle, before turning north up Ipswich Road and heading out through Langham and Boxted.
This year, 4,000 runners are taking part – an extra 250 participants compared to 2017’s line-up – which equates to organisers needing to provide an extra 1,000 bottles of water alone.
Organised by a group of volunteers from Colchester Colne Round Table, alongside dedicated others, the event has a new race director this year.
Liam Austin, 38, who has been working to make this year a success with the team, has been juggling his duties with his day job as a project manager in London.
He said: “It motivates people and inspires people.
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“It also gives a huge boost to the local community.
“I’m really excited now, I just hope the weather stays dry.”
Organisers have endeavoured to create a more community feel on race day this year, and there will be a number of stands at the stadium to entertain children and family members while they wait for friends, colleagues and relatives to finish.
Mr Austin, who runs regularly and has completed the London Marathon before, explained in previous years people had been “bored”. He added: “With that boredom comes anxiety, so we thought we would eliminate that by putting in something for them to do.”
He also highlighted the impact of the increasing number of supporters out on the course as the race has grown in popularity.
“It makes the runners feel good and makes us feel good as organisers,” he said.
Unlike last weekend there should be no concerns about the weather affecting race day with temperatures expected to be around 10-11C, although contingency plans are in place if needed.
A number of rolling road closures will be in place around the town centre so the race can take place safely, while motorists using parts of the route in more rural areas – which remain open – are urged to drive with caution.
Proceeds from this year’s race will go to Essex & Herts Air Ambulance and Colchester-based MS-UK.
Students take on challenge for MS-UK
A trio of students from the University of Essex will be running 13.1 mile Colchester Half Marathon course in aid of MS-UK.
Tess Ryan, Claire Flaherty and Lauren O’Shea, also known as the Purple Paddies, are originally from Ireland and moved to Colchester to study occupational therapy.
Their interest to take part was sparked by a placement Tess had with MS-UK last year. In that time she worked closely with multiple sclerosis (MS) clients, their families and their carers. Tess said: “It gave me the chance to see first hand the impact the charity has on clients and families affected by MS.”
Tess, Lauren and Claire have been training every week while juggling their studies for a masters degree.
They are aiming to raise £500. Lauren added: “We all have part time jobs and are in full time education, so any donations at all are really appreciated.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lauren-o-shea3 to donate.