ENTRIES are now open for the 2014 Basingstoke Half-Marathon – and early entrants will get a discount if they are quick off the mark.

Runners entering before January 31 will benefit from a £5 discount from the cost of the £25 registration fee for entry to the Sunday, October 5 event.

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.