Around 1,500 runners get set for Bexhill races

Runners set off from the lawns alongside the De La Warr Pavilion in last year's Poppy Half Marathon.
Runners set off from the lawns alongside the De La Warr Pavilion in last year's Poppy Half Marathon.

Around 1,500 runners are set to line up in the ninth running of the Poppy Half Marathon races in Bexhill tomorrow (Saturday).

And like last year, the popular annual seafront event will feature races over three different distances one after the other.

A 5k race will kick things off at 10am, followed by the 10k at 11am and the half marathon at 12.30pm. All of them will start and finish on the lawns outside the De La Warr Pavilion.

The 5k will see runners head west along West Parade to the far end of the lower promenade before returning to the start via a short climb up the path onto South Cliff.

Runners in the 10k will complete two laps of the 5k course, while those in the half marathon will tackle one lap of the 5k course after two laps of an 8k course which follows the same path as the 5k course but with an additional stretch east along De La Warr Parade on the end of it.

The flat nature of the courses offers a good opportunity for personal best times - if the wind doesn't blow, which it most certainly did 12 months ago!

A big field of runners is again expected for tomorrow's races.

A big field of runners is again expected for tomorrow's races.

Among the competitors will be Dean Baker, who will be carrying a World War One Army 50lb back-pack in honour of his grandad. He will be supported by four or five others.

A specially-designed commemorative medal will be waiting at the finish line along with the chance of a massage for those weary legs with Becci and Ash.

Entries for the half marathon and the 10K have closed, with numbers at 1,000 and 300 respectively, but you can sign up for the 5k at www.poppyhalf.co.uk today or at the event HQ tomorrow morning.

All race numbers, timing chips, t-shirts etc will be collected at registration, which will be open from 8.45am.

Runners head east along Bexhill seafront in the 2015 Poppy Half Marathon.

Runners head east along Bexhill seafront in the 2015 Poppy Half Marathon.

There will also be a free 500m race for little ones (parents can run/walk with participants) and a more competitive one-mile youth race, entry for which costs £5.

The event is being organised on behalf of the Raising Money for Good Causes charity, which will be making donation presentations during the day to organisations it has supported in 2016, namely the Sidley Scouts, SERV Blood, The Royal British Legion, St Michael's Hospice and Kids for Action.

Hannah Bradbeer, a former contestant on The X Factor, will be singing the national anthem, while James Shepherd will be in charge of the music to fire up the runners and entertain spectators.

Race t-shirts, featuring a special poppy design, will be available at a cost of £25. The event organisers wish to thank sponsors Yazoo and GMP Accountants.

See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.

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