A RECORD number of runners will pour onto the streets tomorrow after a Swindon Town star gets the town’s Half Marathon under way.
Robins skipper Alan McCormack will sound the hooter to start each of the three races.
A total of 1,930 runners will tackle the 13.1-mile course, beating the previous best total of 1,918 two years ago, while entries for the five-mile multi-terrain race and two-mile fun run stand at 283 and 412 respectively.
The number of people in all races is up on last year and organisers are reminding people who haven’t already signed up that entries for the multi-terrain and fun run will be accepted on the day before 10.30am.
But miserable weather is on the cards, with the Met Office predicting heavy rain and strong winds. The temperature is forecast to peak at 9C (48F).
Steve Goulding, of Swindon Shin Splints running club, said: “Over the past five years there has been a big explosion in the number of people out running.
“We have had all shapes, sizes and ages join the club, with many taking part for the first time. I’ve also seen a lot of people out running on the routes or just driving out to take a look. The half marathon has been an inspiration to people to get out and run and be healthy. It’s great for the town to have an event like this.”
Mr Goulding, 49, from near Pewsey, has competed in all nine half marathons and is aiming to clock up a time of 1:25.
He said: “The rain won’t put me off. From past experience the worst part is hanging around waiting. As long as it’s not driving rain and wind it will be quite pleasant.”
But Swindon Council chief executive Gavin Jones won’t brave the elements after pulling out of the half marathon with a broken nose sustained playing cricket. Mr Jones had raised £500 in sponsorship for the MS Therapy Centre, so his younger brother Toby will run the race on his behalf.
The race starts and finishes on the southern edge of Swindon at Piper’s Way. The time to beat for athletes at the front of the field in the half marathon is the record of 1:11:18 set in 2004 by Matt O’Dowd.
Race packs for those who entered before September 21 will be available from Croft Sports Centre in Marlborough Lane, Old Town between 9am and 5pm today. Any not collected during this period must be picked up tomorrow from the Nationwide Pavilion in the race village.
The half marathon will start at 11am, with the multi-terrain starting at 11.10am. The fun run will start at 11.20am.
Coun Keith Williams, cabinet member for leisure and strategic transport, will compete in the fun run using a hand bike after suffering a broken hip in a cycle accident.
He said: “I would like to thank our leisure services team for organising what is sure to be another great event and I would like to wish everyone taking part the best of luck.
“The half marathon is a wonderful event for Swindon and I would encourage people who are not taking part to come along and cheer on those that are, as their support can give runners a real boost regardless of what race they are running in.”
Half marathon competitors must be aged 17 or over on race day and anyone running the multi-terrain must be 15 or over.
The two-mile fun run is for all the family but children under eight must be accompanied by an adult who has also entered the race.
All finishers in all of the races will receive a medal and a T-shirt.