Plymouth's leading distance runners ready for inaugural Saltram half-marathon
THE first Plymouth 'Armada' Half Marathon gets under way tomorrow at Saltram with many of the area's top distance runners bidding to become the sell-out event's first winner.
Plympton fire-fighter Stuart Hall and Torbay AC's Pete Monaghan are expected to lead the charge for the men's title, with Tamar Trotter Peter Waumsley and Erme Valley Harrier Neil Holmes also tipped to be in the mix.
The possible first lady looks set to come from Plymouth Harriers' duo Amy Yetton and Jane Allison, although Erme Valley's talented duo Emma Lake and Alison McEwing are also set to have a say in the matter.
The latest addition to the city's athletics fixture list has a cast list of 350 runners, who will start (9am) and finish in the shadow of Saltram House.
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In addition, there is a 1.5mile fun run which starts at 9.15am.
Organisers, Armada Athletics Network, set their inaugural entry list at 350 runners – which was filled more than two weeks ago.
But it is expected Armada will allow another 20 or so leading local athletes to compete on the day, who were thwarted in their attempt to run at last weekend's Bristol half marathon, due to their coach breaking down at Exeter.
Buoyant Paul Ross, chairman of the Armada Athletics Network, said the race, sponsored by Frank Elford Sports, is expected to be hotly contested.
He said: "To fill all the entries in the first year of the event is evidence of the vibrant running scene in Plymouth and the surrounding area.
"The response we have received so far has been fantastic and we are confident the event tomorrow will be a huge success.
"We are very grateful to sponsors and volunteers who have committed their help, and are now hoping plenty of supporters will come out and spur the runners on."
Organisers say the mainly traffic-free route will enable athletes to take in views of the River Plym and the stunning Plym Valley.
There will be prizes available to overall and category winners, with a number of spot prizes also being presented on the day.
All the finishers will receive a quality memento in reward for their efforts.
Entries will also be taken on the day for a fun run, with all those finishers receiving a medal.