ATHLETICS: A MAJOR recruitment drive is under way to get senior school athletes in Runcorn hotfooting it into the town's own five-mile road race.
Officials of the Norton Priory Road Race on Sunday, February 12 are anxious to ensure a better turn-out for this second event of the Halton Grand Prix season after a fall for the first in the series.
Organisers are particularly targeting youngsters to take part - and not only top up their fitness but also their school funds through sponsorship.
The Runcorn race is, like its two sister races, organised by the Halton and Hale Village Road Race Committee under UK Athletics rules with support from Hale Parish Council.
It is open to runners aged 15 upwards with men's and women's races and also categories for veterans, a team prize and trophy for the best wheelchair athlete.
The five-mile race follows the same course as last year, starting and finishing at Norton Priory.
The first event in this year's series was the 16th annual Hale Village Five-Mile Road Race in December for which participation was down on expectations.
It is feared the 10am start - an hour earlier than normal - may have deterred some participants.
'The Hale run attracted just over 300 but we'd had about 440 the previous year,' said the series' race director Jim Ross.
'Now we are trying to encourage young people to run in the Runcorn race, keep them fit and give them something to do,' added Mr Ross.
'What we are saying to them is take part and raise some money for their school through sponsorship.'
Runners can, however, compete for whatever good cause they select and in as many of the three races as they choose - the third and final 'leg' is the fifth running of the five-mile road race from Runcorn Bridge to Hale Village on Easter Sunday, April 16 (9.30am).
The Runcorn Norton Priory Five-Mile Road Race starts at 10am and entry is £7 for club athletes and £9 for nonaffiliated runners. Results are included in the fee.
Deals are available to Halton secondary schools, who are being leafleted about the scheme.
For any further information, ring the 24-hour answering machine on 0151 291 5693 or e-mail: email@example.com Application forms can also be down-loaded from the Halton Borough Council website.