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On your marks for Maidstone Race Day

THE Maidstone Race Day 2001 looks set to break records for participation before the first crack of the starter's pistol in Oakwood Park on Sunday.

When postal entries closed there were more than 200 entries for the half-marathon, nearly 200 more for the 10k and an incredible 60 plus who have elected to attempt both races on the same morning for the special prizes on offer.

Entries on the day for either of the main races or the fun runs over 2k or 4k are likely to take the total number of competitors close to 1,000 mark.

The half-marathon is the main event commencing at 9.30am and is sponsored by G & V Woodman Contracting. Late entries will be available at £10 and some of the best athletes in Kent are likely to be attracted by the course record bonus payments of £100.

The current best performances were both established in 1999 and are held by Gareth Williams (Medway and Maidstone) with 69min 33 sec and Andrea Green (Dartford Harriers) in 79.37.

Defending champion, Barry Royden is recovering from his exertions in the Great North Run and the 2000 women's winner, Tina Oldershaw, is expecting on addition to her family.

Greg Stevens (Sevenoaks) is among the leading entrants along with Julian Ladd from Farnham who has entered both long distance races.

Dave Davies, of Maidstone Harriers, could be a popular winner in the veteran category while the astonishing 73-year-old Bill Booth, from Snodland, also intends to line up for both races.

Sue Martin-Clarke (Dartford Road Runners) from Larkfield looks a potential winner of the women's race where Heather Fitzmaurice (Sevenoaks) and Paula Stockton and Sharon Hawkins of Maidstone Harriers should also feature.

While the half-marathon competitors are out on the hilly route around Aylesford, Ditton, East Malling, Teston and Barming run runners young and old can enjoy safe and traffic free courses within Oakwood Park.

The 2k for under 11s starts at 9.45am and the 4k for older runners goes at 10am with an entry fee of £3 for either event. All proceeds go to the nominated charity, the Kent Air Ambulance Trust. The concluding event is the 10k which starts at 11.45am.

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