The Swindon Labour Group’s Spokesperson for Leisure, Cllr Jane Milner-Barry, has backed calls for the Council to actively support a Swindon Half Marathon in 2019.

In August the organisers of the Swindon Half Marathon said that because not enough runners had entered the race this year, there might be no half marathon in 2019.  They felt that SBC’s insistence on starting the race at 8.00 am had meant fewer runners from outside Swindon signing up.  It is also known that Swindon Council assigned significant costs to the Swindon Half Marathon organisers that other local councils do not charge.

In a post-race note to runners of the Half Marathon, the organisers said, “In a few weeks, we have an audience with the head of the commercial side of the council to propose a business case to him for next year’s race and onwards. For the Council to pay attention to the race, we need to take in numbers to show the benefit to the town . . . The route for helping our cause with the council is also for you to let them know how much you enjoyed the event, and that you think it’s a great addition to the Swindon calendar. You can do that by contacting your various Ward Councillors, MP’s and Heads of Council”.

The Swindon Labour Group’s Spokesperson for Leisure, Cllr Jane Milner-Barry, said, “The Half Marathon is a very special event and a lot of people really got behind the race this year. Although I recognise there were traffic issues in 2017, I was very surprised that the Council forced the organisers to move to a much earlier time. The very early start was bound to make it more difficult to attract enough runners to make the run sustainable.

The Council needs to recognise the positive effect this run has on public health and community cohesion.   It’s a goal which encourages local people to pick up their running shoes and join the growing number of running groups.  The run also has a very positive effect on the Town Centre, which was full of people on what would have been a quiet Sunday.  And the 2017 race raised more than £60,000 for charity – an amazing amount.

If we were running the Council, the Labour Group would safeguard the future of the Swindon Half Marathon by giving the organisers the support they need.  We urge the Conservative Group to also make this commitment and show cross-party support for the event.”

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