PLACES are still available for one of the first major events of the year for Brighton and Hove.

The Sussex Beacon is staging its annual half marathon on February 25.

The event regularly draws thousands of spectators and hundreds of runners, many of whom are using it as a training point for the Brighton Marathon in April.

It also raises thousands of pounds for the Brighton-based Beacon which provides care and support for people with HIV/Aids.

The charity relies on the support of the community to help it raise the more than £2m a year to keep going.

The Beacon revealed early last year it was struggling to cope and its future was uncertain.

This led to a surge in support from the community who raised thousands of pounds to help.

The charity also managed to secure grants and went through a restructure to put it in a better funding position with the support of the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Executive director Bill Puddicombe said: “Here at the Sussex Beacon, we support people who are finding life with HIV tough or even unmanageable.

“Team Beacon runners play an important part in our work.

“Their effort and sponsorship mean that we can provide care and support to people who need it - when you run for us, you make a real difference.”

Team Beacon runners are asked to raise a minimum of £150 in sponsorship.

In return, they receive plenty of training and fundraising support and a vest and fundraising pack.

They also get access to an exclusive marquee in the race village with separate baggage and toilet facilities.

Alternatively, runners can divide the distance by entering the Sussex Beacon Corporate Relay in teams of five to enjoy exclusive race day perks.

To register to take part in the events, visit by January 26.

Volunteers are also needed to help on the day.