This Saturday marks the final day of athletics at the Rio Olympic Games so it’s fitting that the Lichfield Dash sponsored by St Johns House is back for the first time since the Olympic Torch visited the event in June 2012 and as the city welcomes back its favourite sporting occasion, organisers KP Events have been working to ensure that the morning itself is an entertaining celebration of sporting activities set in the closed to traffic Cathedral Close as everything builds to the conclusion of the Chariots of Fire inspired 12 noon race against time as a field of high class sprinters race each other and the 12 o’clock chimes.
The Dash event is on Saturday the 20th August 2016 from 10am to 12.30pm. From 10am there’s a series of 100m sprints for youngsters aged from 6-14 take place followed by a series of 400m races for the same age groups. At 11am a race against the 11am chimes is being staged organised by The Lord’s Taverners for wheelchair athletes, then after the Elite Mile, Lichwheel’d, the city’s cycling community group stages special cycling demonstrations take place, and then there will be relay races for junior and senior age groups before the build up begins for the main dash itself at 12 noon.
The most unique sprint event in the UK, first run in 1998, the Lichfield Dash in association with St John’s House, is a completely unique sporting occasion. Invited athletes race the 12 noon chimes and the crowds flock to Cathedral Close to watch a race against time come alive in a spectacle of speed, strength and true Corinthian endeavour.
Olympic 400m silver medallist Roger Black (pictured) attended the Dash on Olympic Torch Day in June 2012: “I’m delighted to hear the Lichfield Dash is back in its home city once again. When I experienced it on Olympic Torch day in 2012, the atmosphere was electric and it was a truly unique sporting occasion. To see it back in another Olympic year is brilliant and I wish everyone involved good luck and here’s to seeing The Dash idea spread round the UK in 2017 and beyond”.
Dash founder Kevin Wilson of KP Events is proud to see the dash back where it belongs: “Held originally back in 1998, the Dash took place every year up to 2012 when the Torch visited and we had a huge crowd to witness 2010 champion James Whitehouse of Birchfield Harriers reclaim the Dash title he won in 2010. We are hoping James will be back to hang on his crown and we have lined up a field of local young 400/800m talent from Tamworth AC and Tipton Harriers to challenge him to add interest and wildcard entries on the day are always an interesting addition to the field so watch this space for late entries as we never know until half an hour before the start who might turn up!”
Entries for all running events are available on the day, simply turn up ready to run and special commemorative medals are on offer to all participants and all monies raised on the day will be donated to The Lord’s Taverners. Registration is 20 minutes before each race in marquee in front of West Wing. Pre-registration for all running events is available by clicking the link above, entries are from £2.50. For further information and sponsorship opportunities call Kevin on 07971100973. Subject to alteration.
10.00am Junior Sprint Series (100m)
£2.50 per child per race
RACES FOR 8-15 YEARS OLD
10.30am Junior 400m Series (1 lap)
£2.50 per child per race
RACES FOR 8 – 15 YEARS OLD
11.00am The Lords Taverners Wheelchair Dash
Entry via invitation only
11.10am MAN V BIKE – the ultimate challenge
11.15 CYCLE DEMONSTRATION RACE featuring Lichwheeld cycling community group
11.20am THE ELITE MILE
11.15am Junior Relays sponsored by The Lichfield Round Table
£5 per team of up to 4, 1 lap each
11.25am Senior Relays for local clubs, businesses and organisations sponsored by Lichfield Health and Fitness Club
£10 per team of up to 4 x 1 lap each (entries welcome)
11.35am Demonstration Event
11.50am The Lichfield Dash Athletes Parade
11.59am The St Johns House Lichfield Dash
LICHFIELD DASH HISTORY
The first ever Dash in 1998 was won by GB 400m international Paul Thompson of Birchfield Harriers. TV cameras captured the drama of the Dash in 1999 where Tipton Harriers athlete Mark Anslow collapsed on the finishing line to allow GB international and Birchfield Harrier Carl Warren through to win the coveted trophy awarded to the Dash winner. But true to form, Mark returned to challenge Carl again in July 2000 for the coveted dash title and to mark the occasion of the millennium, all race athletes were wearing Chariots of Fire style outfits of the 1920’s period.
The Dash was held every year in July until 2012 when to welcome the Olympic Torch and its journey through Lichfield, Olympic 400m silver medallist in Atlanta in 1996 Roger Black presented the newly commissioned Dash trophy from Arthur Price Ltd to the winner James Whitehouse from Birchfield Harriers (pictured). The race never disappoints and went on to provide excitement and drama up to 2012 where the race ceased due to a number of factors.
All the on-the-day funds raised at this year’s relaunched LICHFIELD DASH will be donated to the Lord’s Taverners charity, the choice of event sponsors St Johns House Lichfield, as owner Dan Ralley, a keen sportsman himself explains;
“The Lord’s Taverners is the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity dedicated to giving disadvantaged and disabled young people a sporting chance, and the Dash as an event is all about having lots of races for the youngsters to support the main Dash at 12 noon. To celebrate the Lord’s Taverners link we’ll be having a Wheelchair Dash at 11 am to see if 2 or more wheelchair athletes can beat the 11am chimes, now that will be exciting”.
Dash founder Kevin Wilson of organisers KP Events is happy to have the wheelchair athletes back and involved ; “We have had wheelchair races before including GB international paralympian Mickey Bushell (pictured) in 2011 and he’ll be a star name in Rio this September I’m sure so raising funds for the Lord’s Taverners is fantastic for us in Olympic year”.