Ain’t ‘half’ glad city
IT very nearly never went ahead but thousands of runners proved why the Coventry Half Marathon is one of the jewels in the city’s calendar.
Previous event organisers GO2 events chose not to renew their contract last year, leaving a question mark over the future of the event.
But last-minute funding approved by the city council meant the event, which raises tens of thousands of pounds for charity, could go ahead.
More than 3,000 people crowded behind the starting line outside Coventry’s Transport Museum in Millennium Place, excitedly waiting for the horn to signal the beginning of the race.
At 9am the runners flew out of the gate to begin the route lined with spectators that would take them through Radford to Allesley and back into the city centre.
First across the finish line was Tom Whitmore, of Charnwood Athletic Club, in a time of one hour 12 minutes and 52 seconds.
The first woman to finish was Nic Sykes, of Bournville Harriers, in 1hr 21mins 48s.
The only wheelchair racer was Sean Jones.
A further 1,200 of this year’s runners were children and teachers taking part in the Dol-y-Moch Mile to raise money for the Welsh activity centre which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Deputy leader of the council, Cllr Abdul Salam Khan told the Telegraph: “We’ve got 4,600 runners – 1,200 of them being students from local schools, which is great because we want to get them active.
“But it’s important though because this was almost cancelled. We’ve done all we could to keep it going. “Tribute obviously goes to staff of the council who have worked very hard to ensure that this has carried on for this year.”
He added: “We’ve got people from all over the country coming to Coventry for the race and they get to see what we’ve got to offer and I’m sure they’ll take back to friends and family what we have an encourage them to come and visit as well.”
When asked if the council will endeavour to ensure next year’s half marathon goes ahead, he said: “As far as we are concerned we will do everything we can to keep it going for next year, because it fits within our agenda of keeping people fit – and obviously it’s one of the key events we have in the city every year.”
Last year saw a record number of entrants with more than 5,000