ORGANISERS of the 2016 Humber Bridge Half Marathon are urging people to secure their spot in advance of race day as rising entry numbers suggest the event could be a sell-out for the first time in its history.
Now in its 17th year and sponsored by Hudgell Solicitors, runner numbers have grown steadily year after year, resulting in more than 2,150 entrants signing up in 2015.
However, with pre-race entries currently well up on this time 12 months ago, organisers are urging people to secure their spot as soon as possible before the race on Sunday, June 26.
The event has historically experienced a high number sign-ups in the final weeks before race day, and runners have always previously been able to sign-up on the day before the event, and the morning itself.
However, with the capacity limited to 2,500 runners for this year, people are being warned there may only be a limited number of spaces – if any – to sign up on the weekend itself this year.
“We have a capacity of 2,500 runners for the event under our current agreement with the Humber Bridge Board and the permit we receive from UK Athletics, which sees us only using one side of the bridge as part of the half marathon,” said Race Director John Curry, of organisers The Rotary Club of Hull.
“We’ve seen runner numbers rise in each of the past two years, and in both 2014 and 2015 we saw a large number of people sign up over the final few weeks, and even on the weekend of the event itself.
“These sign-ups often tend to be people who live within the region, many of who are long-standing runners of the Half Marathon, who love the race but sign up quite late on each year.
“In previous years, we have entered the final two weeks or so with around 1,000 places remaining, but with the demand we have seen up to this stage this year, people should be aware we could be putting the ‘sold out’ notices up in advance.
“The Bridge Board have always been supportive and have said they will support us if we grow, but obviously, if we were to request more use of the bridge, that would take longer to negotiate and plan, and that is not possible for this year at this stage.
“Given the rise in numbers we have been seeing year on year, increasing the capacity for the race is something we will certainly have to consider for 2017, when demand is expected to rise again as we find ourselves in the national spotlight with Hull being City of Culture.
“The message is that if you want to guarantee your place 100 per cent this year, sign up as soon as possible.”
Entering the first of a new three-year sponsorship with Hudgell Solicitors, and having the continued support of The Smile Foundation, new elements have been added to the Half Marathon this year.
That includes an extra incentive for runners in the prize of a trip to the Big Apple, and a place in the New York City Marathon in November, being offered as part of the new sponsorship from the Hull-based law firm.
A total of 28 runners, including the first five men and women finishers, and the best placed men and women from a wide range of age categories, will be entered into a draw to win the trip to the States, and the place in the iconic race.
Neil Hudgell, managing director of sponsors Hudgell Solicitors, which has a team of runners taking part in the marathon’s Corporate Challenge, says he is delighted to see the event growing and attracting an increasing number of runners.
He said: “The plan around our involvement is to continue growing this fantastic event and to ensure we help it raise as much money as possible for local good causes.
“It is a great community event, bringing people together at a great location to enjoy the challenge of what is a fantastic course, and the great atmosphere between runners. We are certainly looking forward to the day, and taking part with our own teams of runners.”
The Humber Bridge Half Marathon is organised by the Rotary Club of Hull supported by Rotary Club of Barton, and is now in its 17th year. Over the past 16 years it has raised more than £1m for local charities through choosing its own main beneficiaries, and in sponsorship money raised by the runners themselves.
Last year, the main benefitting charity, Hull-based Downright Special, received more than £18,000 from money raised at the event.
For 2016, the Rotary Club has moved away from selecting one main benefitting charity and have chosen three charity partners, The Butterflies Memory Loss Support Group, Hull and East Yorkshire Mind and The Brain Tumour Charity.
To secure your place in the 2016 Humber Bridge Half Marathon, visit www.humber-half.org.uk
It costs £23 for all UKA affiliated runners and £25 for non-affiliated runners. All finishers receive medals and technical training T-shirts. Runners are reminded that due to a recent change in rules by UK Athletics, they will not be able to wear headphones whilst running the half marathon course. Headphones for medical reasons or conductive headphones are permitted.
Businesses are being urged to enter teams for the Corporate Challenge, for which trophies are up for grabs in both male and female sections. Businesses need only 5 runners to enter each category, with the first 3 finishers counting towards their overall team times.