ENTRIES for Bracknell and Wokingham’s half marathons are open for anyone that wants to make a healthy start to 2014.

Bracknell’s half marathon returns on Sunday, April 27, marking its 30th anniversary.

The race, which has sold out for the past seven years, accommodates 1,000 runners on a route which starts at Ringmead, and runs around Downshire Way, Harvest Ride and Crown Wood.

Organised by Bracknell Forest Council, the race is raising money for the Thames Hospice through entry fees, which are £20.40 each.

Thames Hospice is the chosen charity for mayor Cllr Jan Angell.

Cllr Angell said: “Since the first race all those years ago many thousands of pounds have been raised for charity while competitive runners have striven to finish among the prizes.

“I hope that everyone taking part enjoys their day and achieves their personal targets.” Matthew Saleh, from Bracknell, began his training last year, and said: “When I started training last year I weighed in excess of 300lbs, now I’m over halfway to my target of losing 100lbs before the marathon.” Wokingham Half Marathon takes place on Sunday, February 9, starting at Cantley Park and accommodating 3,000 runners. The race has been going for 31 years but has been cancelled twice during that time due to snow.

Race organiser Peter Evans said: “I ran it myself the first two times! Never got above one hour 30 though!” There is a £500 prize for anyone who can break the course record, set by Phil Wicks for the men with 1.03.14 in 2011, and Liz Yelling, for the women, with 1.11.09 in 2008.

James Lewis, 34, from Hampshire is one of those who has signed up to Wokingham Half Marathon. He said: “I’ve never done the Wokingham one so I thought I’d give it a go, 13 miles is about the distance that I enjoy!” It costs £20 for affiliated athletes and £22 for others to enter, and there are only about 700 places left. Mr Evans added that all surplus money was donated to charity.

To enter the half marathons, visit www.bracknellforest.gov.uk/bracknellhalfmarathon for Bracknell and wokinghamhalfmarathon.co.uk for Wokingham.