Ain’t ‘half’ glad city

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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