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Athletes Attempt To Beat Cathedral Clock As It Chimes Twelve
Staffordshire's answer to a university run immortalised in the 1981 sporting film Chariots of Fire is to make its return after a gap of four years. Chariots of Fire told the fact-based story of two athletes, Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, as they competed in the 1924 Olympics. During the film, Abrahams apparently becomes the first student at the University of Cambridge to run around Trinity College courtyard in the time it takes for the clock to strike 12.
Launch of the 2016 Lichfield Dash at Lichfield Cathedral
That achievement, which famed British athletes Sebastian Coe and Steve Cram tried unsuccessfully to emulate in more recent years, led to the creation of the Lichfield Dash - a Chariots of Fire inspired race timed against the 12 noon chimes of Lichfield Cathedral in the heart of the Staffordshire city. And the Lichfield Dash will make a welcome return around Cathedral Close from 10am on Saturday August 20. It was originally staged in 1998, but has not been performed since 2012 when the Olympic Torch came to Lichfield on its travels around the UK in the build up to the London Olympics.
Former Olympic athlete Roger Black presents the 2012 award to James Whitehouse
Kevin Wilson, director of organisers KP Events, who founded the Lichfield Dash event, says: "The Dash was last held when the Olympic Torch came to Lichfield in 2012 and, due to various circumstances, it's had a break but in the year of the Rio Games we felt it right to bring it back. We're hugely excited to see it back at its spiritual home of Lichfield Cathedral." Previous winners of the Dash, which this year are sponsored by St Johns House in Lichfield, have been GB international athletes James Thie and Jimmy Watkins, while the last winner in 2012 was James Whitehouse of Birchfield Harriers who also won in 2010.
The programme on Saturday 20 August starts at 10am as a traffic free Cathedral Close is turned into a running track, a cycling track and even a wheelchair track in the build up to the main Lichfield Dash at 12 noon. There will be children's races and relays from under 7's to under 15's, as well as adult mile races and adult relays. All monies raised on the day will be donated to The Lords Taverners charity.
Historic Lichfield Cathedral provides the setting for the Lichfield Dash
Olympic 400m silver medallist Roger Black, who attended the last Lichfield Dash in 2012, said: "I'm delighted to see 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 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."
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