ENTRIES are now open for the 2014 Basingstoke Half-Marathon which will take place on Sunday, October 5.

And runners entering before January 31 will benefit from a £5 discount from the cost of the £25 registration fee.

The race, which starts at War Memorial Park and goes through the countryside of Cliddesden and Farleigh Wallop, has again been rated as one of the top 10 half-marathons in the country by Runner’s World magazine, following the success of the 2013 race.

A new headline sponsor is supporting this year’s event – Basingstoke law firm Phillips Solicitors.

Jonathan Pender, partner at Phillips, in London Road, said; “Phillips has been proudly associated with the Basingstoke Half-Marathon since it began in 2011, and this year we are really excited to be the headline sponsors of the 2014 race.

“Having seen how the event has grown in size and popularity, we can’t wait to work with Destination Basingstoke to make it even bigger and better and to get as many people and local businesses as possible involved.

“There is such a great feeling of community pride around this event, and it is an excellent example of how running can bring people of all ages and abilities together.

“An ever-growing Team Phillips will be there to cheer runners on and to defend our corporate team champion position!”

TechData, based at Chineham Business Park, is also sponsoring the race.

Andy Dow, marketing director for the company, said: “TechData has entered increasingly big teams into the Half-Marathon since 2011, and so are delighted to be playing a more formal role in the management of this hugely successful event that has inspired a step change in the way people think about Basingstoke, nurturing real pride in the town.

“Our staff are very much looking forward to training for the event, and Phillips can expect some competition for the team trophies!”

Other sponsors include Asset Advantage, in Basing View, and Mercedes-Benz of Basingstoke.

Felicity Edwards, race director and managing director of Destination Basingstoke, said: “It is so exciting to be able to launch the race again. After last year’s success, we are working hard to make the 2014 race the best ever and are so pleased to be working with Phillips and our other sponsors who really understand what we are trying to achieve with this race.

“There is so much local support from businesses and sponsors, the running community, volunteers and residents – half-marathon day has become a big day for the town and Basingstoke has really proved how it is so welcoming to visitors from all over the world.”

To enter, visit basingstokehalfmarathon.com.