Bristol 10K - the race that's winning fans from around the world
THE fairer sex are proving they may also be the fitter sex as well with more women than men so far signing up to take on the Bristol 10k than men.
Thousands of elite athletes and fun runners are preparing to take part in what is set to be another record-breaking event.
Current entry numbers for the race, which takes place on Sunday, May 5, stand at about 7,000 with runners taking part from as far-a-field as New Zealand. And organisers expect to see about 12,000 by close of entry on Monday, April 8.
There is a strong European element too with runners from Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, France, Spain, Germany and Norway.
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This year's race is part of the RunBritain Grand Prix series so many British elite runners are expected to take part including 2012 Olympian and former Bristol University student Claire Hallissey who plans to return to Bristol from her new home in America for the event.
So far 55 teams have also signed up to be part of the Clarke Willmott Business Challenge. The teams from firms across the city compete against each other with more expected to join.
If anyone already has their individual place in the race, organisers say its not too late to transfer to the Business Challenge and run with their workmates.
Now in its sixth year the race has grown to become a popular event for all ages and is seen by many as a warm-up to the Bristol Half Marathon in September.
The Bristol 10k's popularity is confirmed by the fact entrants have come from all over the UK including Wales, Scotland, Exeter, Gloucester, London, Reading, Swindon, Southampton, Taunton, Torquay and Wolverhampton.
There are also more than 147 people over 60 who will be lacing up their running shoes to take on the course while around 100 more women than men have signed up so far.
Georgette Van Hoof, Bristol City Council's race director, said the popularity of the event showed that Bristol was fast becoming an established running city.
She said: "The Bristol 10k race is once again proving to be very popular – not only with locals, but it also brings visitors from all over the UK and abroad.
"The trend is for this race to grow each year and we expect around 12,000 people to sign up before the closing date.
"Many who take part are raising valuable funds for charity and local businesses take up the challenge and build team spirit by entering teams in the Clarke Willmott Business Challenge.
"But the event is about more than running – it's an opportunity for Bristol to join in the fun on race day and cheer the runners on – and if anyone wants to volunteer to help we would love to hear from you at www.runbristol.com/10K/49/Volunteers.aspx.
She added that the Bristol 10k had gone from strength to strength since it was first staged in 2008
"Ordinarily while half marathons have always been universally popular, 10k events tend to only attract local people but we have seen entries from all over the country as well as Europe and New Zealand.
"The race is only in its sixth year but the fact that there is such a broad entry in terms of gender, age and ability just goes to show again how the race has captured people's imaginations."
One of the selling points of the Bristol 10k is the scenic route and potential on offer for runners to record fast times.
The race starts and finishes in Bristol's historic Harbourside and the scenic sea-level route takes runners along the Portway, through the stunning Avon Gorge, and passes twice under Clifton Suspension Bridge.
While many are pleased just to finish the course in a respectable time, the current records are held by two Kenyans – Gordon Mugi (28mins 29secs) in 2010 and Edinah Kwambai (32mins 29secs), who raced in 2011.
Others will take to the course in fancy dress intent on enjoying the day and raising money for their chosen charity.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds are raised through the race and the three main charities which will benefit this year are Clic Sargent, Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal for the Bristol Children's Hospital Charity and national children's charity Coco.
Clic Sargent is the UK's leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families.
It provides clinical, practical, financial and emotional support to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life.
Coco was set up by former Olympic athlete Steve Cram in 2000 to fund children's projects in developing countries such as in Africa, Thailand, Bosnia, Peru and Romania.
Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal for the Bristol Children's Hospital Charity supports every ward and department in the hospital and since it was established in 1995 has raised almost £20 million.
To help all runners keep their training on track Runbristol, the team behind the Bristol 10k and Half Marathon, is holding a series of monthly training workshops led by some of the UK's top coaches, athletes and sports professionals.
Runners in both events can pick up tips from expert coaches as well as information from sports injury partners.
The next workshop will take place on Saturday, April 6 at Ashton Court – four weeks before the Bristol 10k.
Workshops for runners participating in the Bristol Half Marathon also take place in June, July and August.
The 10k race follows a similar route to the half marathon but the stretch along the Portway and the lap of the city centre is shorter.
Taking in some of the best of the city's sights the route, which begins at Millennium Square takes runners along the Harbourside past the Avon Gorge and along Cumberland Road, returning over Prince Street Bridge, around St Augustine's Parade and past the Hippodrome.
A number of roads around the course will be closed in a rolling programme – see the map opposite for details.
Diversions will be in place to keep disruption to a minimum and to allow motorists access to the city and to Broadmead and Cabot Circus, which will remain open as normal.
Motorists and residents also need to be aware that tow-away schemes will be in operation throughout the day to keep the roads clear.
For more information, visit www.runbristol.com.
To get involved with the race charities as a runner or volunteer marshal, contact Caroline Lewis at CLIC Sargent on 0117 311 2607 or email email@example.com.
To find out more about Coco or to opt to run for the charity, contact Rachel Bell on 0191 261 7427 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel said: "We'd just like to say a huge thank you to everyone taking part in the Bristol 10k for Coco."
To race for Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal for the Bristol Children's Hospital Charity visit www.grandappeal.org.uk/bristol10k or to find out more about volunteering as a race marshal, contact the charity's events team at email@example.com or call 0117 927 3888.
For more information about the Clarke Willmott Business Challenge, contact Clare.Norman@clarkewillmott.com.