Preston’s leading long-distance race is coming back with a bang after what looked like the end of the line.
READ MORE: End of the road for the Preston 10k
When organisers announced last year that they could no longer afford to stage the Preston 10k, thousands of runners and supporters were left disappointed.
But now a Manchester-based sports promoter has stepped in to the breach and is bringing back the race.
The 10k – along with a shorter fun run – will be run in Autumn on a route around the city centre.
Race Director at Sports Tours International Graham Jackson said: “We’re delighted to come to Preston and build on the success of the race.”
The race is set to continue in a very similar way to how it has run before, with the only major change being the change of headquarters.
Graham said: “We don’t want to re-invent the wheel, coming in and chucking all the good work that’s gone before.
“As much as we can we’re going to keep the same course; the only difference in the city centre is that race HQ will be the Guild Hall.
“This will raise the profile a bit more and give it more credibility.”
As part of the new race, a new logo has been put together which will be emblazoned on all medals and T-shirts.
UK Events and Sponsorship Manager at Sports Tours Kevin Harmer said: “We wanted to create something that was iconic with the city itself.
“We’re from Manchester but are working closely with lots of local people to get the input from people here.
“Speaking to the council and local runners has been key to keep some heritage. Changing the name slightly to the City of Preston 10k will give it that extra boost that it probably needs but the creative as well is something for people to be proud of.”
The middle-distance 5km race has been put on ice for now but the shortened fun run is set to stay.
“It’s a race for everybody,” Graham explained.
Kevin said: “We don’t want to do too much at first. There’s scope for things like the 5k race to return in time.”
Prize money will be equally split between men and women, with first place getting £250, second £150, and third £75.
Mayor of Preston Coun Brian Rollo said: “It’s been very popular for years and drags people into the city.
“It’s spectacular and fill out the Flag Market and all along the route.”
Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for Culture and Leisure, said; “I’m delighted that Sports Tours International will be organising an annual 10k race for Preston residents and visitors.
“Always a popular event in the past, I’m sure they’ll do a great job for 2018.”
Kevin added: “This year it’s about re-establishing the race and getting people to buy back into it, get local businesses, charities, and voluntary groups all involved because without them our races can’t exist. It’s about knitting these crucial elements together.”
History of the Preston 10k
The Preston 10k was first run in 2012, part of the celebrations of the Preston Guild.
The Guild Series comprised a 5k and 10k runs, as well as a marathon and half marathon.
The 10k proved especially popular and was repeated, initially put on by Preston Council.
In its later years it was taken on by Steve Ashcroft, who also runs the Garstang 10k.
In August last year Steve announced that he could no longer make the event pay, due to increasing costs and decreasing sponsorship - although entries remained bouyant. He put on the last event in September 2017.
Steve, who works full time in security for Preston North End, said: “I’m glad that it’s going on and hopefully it will be great.
“I was a one man band with a full-time job; these guy’s full-time job is race organising so it has room to grow a lot more. Hopefully it will get bigger and better by the year.”
How to enter
The race is on Sunday, September 30.
Entries open at 9.30am today. Early bird entry prices are £17 which include a technical T-shirt, medal, water, goody bag, official timing chip, access to the athlete village entertainment and more. Entry is £15 for affiliated running club members.
Full details of the fun run will be announced later.