A HUGELY successful half marathon is returning to town with a festival-style feel and fundraising for charity.

The Harwich Half Marathon, which first launched in 1982, is returning after 28 years.

The event is being held to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Ship sailing to America and will be called the Mayflower 400 Harwich Half Marathon.

Andy Fern, from the Rotary Club of Harwich and Dovercourt, which is hosting the event alongside the Harwich Runners, said it will take place on April 5, 2020.

He added: “The race will be run on closed roads using elements of the original route and taking in the beautiful landmarks around Harwich.

“Alongside the race there will be various entertainment providing a festival atmosphere combining a professionally organised race alongside community and fundraising opportunities.

“The money raised via the event will be put back in to the local community via the Harwich Runners and the Rotary Club of Harwich and Dovercourt.”

The Harwich Half Marathon was started by Harwich Round Table in 1982 and taken over by the then newly formed Harwich Running Club in 1985 until 1991.

The early 1980s running boom attracted thousands of runners to the Harwich Half Marathon.

Some of those whowere enticed to try running back then, are the founders of Harwich Runners and are still involved in the club today.

Roy Snow, who took part in the first London Marathon in 1981, was co-founder of the Harwich Half Marathon event.

He said: “We thought if we could get 100 people to take part it would be a great success.

“On the big day almost 1,000 took part and for a great many, that event changed their lifestyle for ever.

“I feel that day was one of the greatest achievements of my life and cannot wait to be part of next year’s revival.”

Entries for the Mayflower 400 Harwich Half Marathon are open now and with places limited it is expected to sell out.

Harwich Runners will be providing training support for the Harwich Half Marathon with a dedicated training guide and encouragement.

For details, and to sign up, visit harwichrunners.co.uk.