LESS than a fortnight remains to sign-up to one of the biggest events of Southampton’s sporting calendar.

Runners hoping to take part in this year’s ABP Southampton Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k have until the March 15 to submit their entries.

Already more than 8,500 people have signed up to take part across the three races, set to take place on Sunday April 22.

And organisers expect the remaining 1,500 places to be snapped up quickly, as the deadline for entries looms.

Nikki Rees, from the race team, said: “It’s been so interesting to watch the entries come in and we’ve spotted a real last-minute rush as the March 15 deadline approaches.

“People have been signing up at all hours of the day, some in the middle of the night, so it shows that people are thinking about running no matter where they are.”

Organisers are expecting around 10,000 people to take to the streets on race day.

Just over half of those will be taking part in the full 26.2 mile course, which incorporates city landmarks such as the Bargate, Itchen Bridge and Riverside Park.

Both the full and half-marathon courses also go through St Mary’s Stadium.

Asked why people should sign up this year, Nikki Rees said: “I think what people love about Southampton is it’s started to get a reputation as one of the cheeriest races.

“Runners are really supportive of one another and that makes it popular with first-timers in particular.

“The spectators along the route are amazing too.

“We get around 30,000 people coming to the city to cheer people on and the whole community come to support runners, including 850 to 1,000 volunteers.

“We have everything from ukulele bands to cheerleaders along the way.”

Ahead of the event, organisers have also provided seven reasons to sign-up to the race.

Seven reasons to run the ABP Southampton Marathon

1) To get fit - Setting a goal like running the marathon makes you much more likely to stick to a training regime;

2) The feeling of accomplishing a goal;

3) To experience the camaraderie of running with 9,999 other people;

4) Help local charities and causes;

5) See the city as you’ve never seen it before - by running through it;

6) A free visit to St Mary’s - The half and full marathon distances both go through the stadium;

7) Get discounts across the city – Bars, restaurants and businesses across the city do ‘medal discounts’ for runners.