Chris Rees is relishing the mammoth task of welcoming 6,000 runners to the ABP Southampton Half Marathon in the spring.

Now the young entrepreneur has secured his reputation as a surefire winner by clinching the title in a distinguished business awards.

But the Marafun director says he is just warming up as his accolade comes as entries to his half marathon surge past the halfway mark.

The 29-year-old was named Young Business Person of the Year in the INSPIRE14 Business Awards.

It marks the tenth anniversary of the former Peter Symonds College student stepping out to become his own boss.

Chris, from Chandler’s Ford, initially set up his Wessex Swim School fresh from leaving school.

It rapidly flourished and since then he has launched sports companies TryTri Events and his own shop, Rees Leisure, in Chandler’s Ford.

He said he is honoured to receiving the accolade, saying: “I wasn’t expecting to win it but when they read my name out I was delighted.

“It’s been 10 years of hard graft but what drives me is that I wanted to do something for myself. Now I am focusing on the half marathon.

“We’ve had an incredible response, with more than 3,000 people signed up already and it’s going to be an enjoyable competitive experience where people will want to keep coming back.”

The 13.1-mile race takes place on the same day as the London Marathon, Sunday, April 26.

The route starts at Hoglands Park and will link up some of the city’s best-known landmarks, including the BargateSt Mary’s Stadium and the Itchen Bridge before finishing at Guildhall Square.

A 10km race will also start and finish at the same locations.

It will raise thousands of pounds for good causes with people running on behalf of local and national charities.

Half-marathon entry is £31.99 and £21.99 for the 10km race.

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