ATHLETICS: RUNNERS will be hotfooting it to Halton, this Sunday, for a pacesetting new event on the athletics calendar.
The Runcorn Five Mile Road Race takes place over a Norton Priory course, which has likewise never been run before.
And, unusually, the entire route will be coned off for the safety of competitors.
Road closures will also be in place half an hour before the scheduled 10am start.
The race is the second of three which form the Catena Rail Grand Prix, promoted by the Halton & Hale Village Road Race Committee, with the other two already being firmly established on the North West scene.
Organiser Jim Ross said: 'Manchester or Liverpool don't have a Grand Prix series, so this is a big thing for Halton.
'Although it is a one-off, if it is what the runners want - and the charities who benefit also have an input - we will certainly do it again next year.
'The Runcorn Road Race is a new event and we are pleased with the entry so far.
'We have about 250 up to now and we expect that to get up to 300.'
Limited places will be available on the morning of the event, at race headquarters outside Norton Priory Museum, from 8am.
On-the-day entry is £8 for club runners and £9 for non-club runners - £1 more than the advanced prices.
Mr Ross added: 'Because this is a brand new event, it would help us if everybody got there earlier than they would normally to help us get over any possible hitches. Road closures will be in place from 9.30am.' In the build-up, organisers stopped off at Asda Runcorn to publicise the event.
But one man who did not need telling it is happening is the superstore's bakery manager Billy Westbrook.
The 42-year-old will run the Runcorn race along with its series-completing sister event, the fifth annual Bridge Five Mile Road Race on Easter Sunday, March 27.
This is from the Runcorn side of the Silver Jubilee Bridge to Hale village.
Father-of-three Billy sees the Grand Prix events as key to his preparations for first-time entry into the London Marathon.
He has already run the New York Marathon but will be hoping the weather is kinder when he pounds the streets of the English capital.
Said Billy: 'I did the New York Marathon three years ago but, just my luck, it was the coldest New York Marathon on record!
'I just had to endure it. I can't remember my finishing position but I ran it in four hours 21 minutes.'
Billy has been at Asda Runcorn for 18 months and took up his present post after a spell as night replenishment manager.
He will run in London in aid of the Merseyside Autistic Children's Society (MACS) - Billy's daughter Beth, six, is autistic.
Billy, who also has two sons, 21-year-old Adam and Leo, eight, is looking to break the four-hour barrier.
Not attached to a club but training with Wirral AC, he is relishing the challenges of the Halton-based events.
The first leg of the Grand Prix took place in December - the 15th annual Hale Village Five Mile Road Race attracting 440 runners.