There aren’t many people who get to be cheered on as they race around Cheltenham Racecourse – especially if they don’t have a horse to ride on.
That will all change later this year when Prestbury Park is home to The Cheltenham Classic Run set against the magnificent backdrop of Cleeve Hill.
Here, Gloucestershire Live’s breaking news editor Phil Norris looks forward to the race on Sunday, September 1 and remembers his own experiences of racing around the racecourse without a horse.
No day is wasted if you’ve gone for a run.
And every run is a victory over yourself.
Two of my mantras in life that have kept me ‘just going out for a quick run’ for the best part of two decades.
Never breaking any records, never winning any races, but pounding the miles in a bid to keep fit.
It’s a great chance to stay up-to-date(ish) with my favourite movie podcast (Hello to Jason Isaacs), and to lose myself in music (thanks Eminem).
I run wherever I am and have run down narrow streets in Portugal to the shores of the Atlantic, up hills in Cephalonia, around an island in the Danube in Hungary, through the cobbled university streets of Oxford, up May Hill and Leckhampton Hill in Gloucesteshire, and on endless suburban streets around Gloucester, Cheltenham, Newent and parts of north-east Hampshire.
But one of the places that stands out the most is Cheltenham Racecourse, where I have run twice as part of the Cheltenham Half Marathon.
I’m not going to lie, it’s a tough end to a 13.1mile race when you see the expanse of the racecourse before you.
But it’s also a magnificent arena that echoes to the sound of the sporting triumphs that have taken place on that hallowed turf.
The Cheltenham Classic Run
Cheltenham Racecourse will open its doors to runners on September 1 2019 with big prizes on offer for the main race and a host of shorter courses to suit all abilities.
A junior run and family mile will also be held so that everybody can take part.
The run is being held by Reach PLC, owner of the Gloucester Echo, GloucestershireLive, Western Daily Press and Somerset Live, along with Hollicom Events and owner of Aintree Racecourse, the Jockey Club.
If you have ever wanted to run the famous home of the Gold Cup you can enter at theclassicrunseries.co.uk
In total three events will be held across the country. The dates of events are:
- Cheltenham, Sunday September 1, 2019
- Aintree, Sunday September 8, 2019
- Newmarket, Sunday October 20th, 2019
When you first run on to the course, in front of the club enclosure, it’s a daunting sight as you see the racecourse stretch out into the distance.
As someone who has watched racing there on numerous occasions, memories of seeing such legends as Kauto Star and Denman remain strong – as does the sound of that famous Cheltenham Roar.
So to be running in their footsteps, in one of the most stunning sporting facilities in the country, is something I will always remember and can’t wait to return to.
As you run by the fences, you see just how high they are and your admiration for the jockeys and their mounts increases.
And to anyone thinking about taking part in the race in September, I would say – go for it.
There are many ways you can experience the big race feeling.
There’s the Cheltenham Classic 10K run and a Classic Corporate Challenge in you want to get your work colleagues involved – great for mutual motivation and friendly rivalry.
If you think 10k is too far, there is The Cheltenham Classic 5k run which is open to children over three (anyone under 11 years of age on the day must be accompanied by a competing adult).
And, there is The Cheltenham Classic Junior Run for those aged from nine to 15 on the day of the race.
If you are thinking that racing 5k or 10k is quite far, you’ve got plenty of time to prepare for it – here’s a link to how to do the couch to 5K this year.
And even taken the race away, getting into the running habit will transform your life.
You will have more energy, you will find yourself sharper, and you will see so many benefits – which could be weight loss, diet control, improved mental well-being and friendships as you meet other runners.
Because every day you go for a run, you are winning over that side of you that says ‘stay on the sofa’, ‘have another chocolate’ or ‘you can always go tomorrow’.
And if all you do for the rest of the day is binge-watch the latest Netflix box set, you will have achieved something and the better part of you will have triumphed.
You can enter The Cheltenham Classic Run here.