Hundreds of people will take part in the run on October 27 in memory of Peter Driver, who contributed to the success of Fleet and Crookham Athletic Club
Hundreds of runners will take to the streets of Fleet on Sunday, October 27 in memory of one of the town’s most illustrious sportsmen.
The annual Peter Driver Memorial 10k, a two-lap run around the roads of Fleet, starts at the earlier time of 10am.
Organised by Fleet and Crookham Athletic Club, the race is held in memory of Mr Driver, who won gold in the six-mile event at the Empire (now Commonwealth) Games in Vancouver in 1954 — the year Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes.
Born in 1932, Mr Driver took up running with South London Harriers and ran his first international for England in 1952. He had considerable success, both on the track and at cross-country, and in 1953 he became National Junior Cross Country Champion, winning the AAA six-mile track championship the following year. Mr Driver moved to Fleet in 1961 and joined Fleet and Crookham Athletic Club, which at the time was a very small and new club.
He became secretary and helped to improve and enlarge the club, giving it the base from which it has flourished.
During his membership of the club he introduced his two sons, Alan and Andrew, to running and both have enjoyed various successes on the track, road and cross country.
Mr Driver died from cancer in 1971.
As a tribute to his enthusiasm for athletics, his contribution to Fleet and Crookham Athletic Club’s success and his achievement at international level, the club held the first Peter Driver Memorial Road Races the following year.
The Fleet 10k is a two-lap course, starting in Fleet Road near The Harlington. The route passes through the town centre towards the station, turns left into Elvetham Road, left again into Reading Road North and once more into Fleet Road, where the runners repeat the same route.
Road closures will be in place from 9.55am to 11.30am, reopening as soon as possible after the runners have passed through.
Race director Mickael Hegesippe said: “We appreciate the patience and understanding of motorists who may experience some delay in their journeys if they travel during the road closure times. We will endeavour to minimise any disruption as far as possible.”
The course is traffic-free and with the route passing through the town centre twice, runners receive plenty of support and encouragement from the spectators who line the road.
Mr Hegesippe added: “With 450 entries already registered as of October 14, we are hoping to beat last year’s total entries of 628 and confirm our event as one of the leading 10k races in north east Hampshire.
“Always thriving to improve our race, we have added a few additional facilities this year and a total of £500 worth of prizes will be given away.
“Massage services and catering services, at very reasonable prices, will be provided in The Harlington before and after the race.”
Online entries via www.runbritain.com close today but entries will be available on the day. There will also be a 5km race with entries taken on the day.
Runner numbers will not be sent by post this year and have to be collected from The Harlington on race day, from 8.30am.
“Runners should allow themselves plenty of time as the start time cannot be delayed,” warned Mr Hegesippe.
Organisers would like to thank sponsors Sweatshop of Woking for providing prizes for the first three men and women and various age group winners, and Ridgway BMW of Hook for providing the lead car.