Future Looks Bleak for the Swindon Half Marathon

The Nationwide Swindon Half Marathon team have announced that the 2018 Half Marathon, to be run on 9th September, may well be the last.

The organisers say they are hugely grateful for the generous sponsorship they have received from local firms.   But rising costs, along with the Council’s insistence on an earlier start time of 8.00 a.m. which has deterred out-of-town runners, mean that the sums just aren’t adding up.


Cllr Jane Milner-Barry, Labour spokesperson for sports development, says:  “I was shocked to hear that the New Swindon Half is at risk.   Last year 2,700 runners took part and the event raised £70,000 for local charities – probably even more.    Events like this are really good for the town.  Families were paying to park in the town centre and spending money there.  And we’re always being told that Swindon has an obesity problem.  The Swindon Half has given a lot of people a reason to try and get fit.”

Cllr Milner-Barry continued:  “If Bath, Reading and Oxford can run half marathons, why can’t Swindon? It almost seems as if the Conservative Administration is actively discouraging community events.  This year there has been no Mela and no Pride.  The Mfor Festival at Lydiard Park was cancelled.  So were the World Cup screenings in the Town Gardens Bowl and all but one of the open-air film showings.  Events such as the Sausage and Ale Trail in Old Town have had to struggle with a massive increase in the stall licence fee from £10 to £37.

By treating events like these as a cash cow, the Conservative Council is killing them off.  A bit of support and flexibility on the part of the Council, especially with an event like the New Swindon Half which is just getting off the ground, would bring dividends in the form of a much more attractive image for Swindon. Swindon needs to invest in events like this that showcase the place”.

If this is the last year for the New Swindon Half, the Council will be to blame.