10:00am Thursday 5th April 2012
Charities are set to lose out after the cancellation of this year’s Chippenham half marathon.
But organiser Chippenham Harriers denies that a row over money raised from the race is to blame.
There have been reports that the committee wants every penny raised to go to charity, but with the costs of running the event higher than ever, others in the club have asked for a small percentage of the money to help meet costs, leading to arguments.
But chairman Mike Bright said there is no row, and the event will be back next year.
“The reason for not organising the event this year is because a number of members of the organising committee decided to step down from organising the event earlier this year,” he said.
“An event the size and quality of the Chippenham Half Marathon requires a lot of planning and we concluded that there was insufficient time to put together a team with the right skills to put on a quality event for this year. We have not taken this decision lightly and are sorry to have disappointed so many of our runners, we would like to thank them for their support.
“The club organises other events, which we hope people will consider running.”
But Ian Wiggins, a member of the sub-committee that organises the half marathon, said: “For a time, there was a discussion in the club about whether or not to stay at Chippenham Sports Club, where we are based.
“Some members wanted to move to Stanley Park Sports Ground. While these talks were going on, we lost two or three months’ worth of planning for the race, which takes ten months to organise.
“We have decided to stay with the club, but because we lost the time, we felt we did not have enough time to make the event as good as it should be.”
The event, which last year raised £12,000 for local charities, not including the amounts raised by individuals, attracts up to 1,500 runners each year as its popularity grows.
Chippenham Mayor David Powell said he is disappointed the race will not be held this year, as his charity of the year The Rise Trust received a large amount from last year’s event.
“I know that it is an enormous job, but it is very sad indeed that the race will not happen,” he said. “It benefited the trust to the tune of £2,000. It is £2,000 I would not otherwise have been able to raise, and they were absolutely delighted by it.”
President of the Wessex Chamber of Commerce Rob Perks said: “This event has an impact on business, and so it is disappointing it will not be held this year.
“It is one of those events we need to show the town centre is more than a place to shop. It is a part of the community. A lot of people are brought into the town as a result of this, so it is a great shame.”
Fireman Rob Warwick, who has run the half-marathon in previous years, said it would be much-missed. “It would have rounded off my year, which is going to include the London Marathon and the Olympic torch relay,” he said. “I’m very sad it’s happened.”
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