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Hundreds sign up for half marathon
ENTRIES for Sunday’s Swindon Half Marathon were closing in on last year’s total as last night’s deadline closed in.
The number stood at around 1,500 yesterday afternoon, with several hours still to run before midnight passed.
In 2012, more than 1,700 runners got their entries in for Nationwide’s final year as lead race sponsor.
Sunday will be the British Heart Foundation’s first year as organisers, and as banners begin to go up around the town, it hopes the excitement building around the town will boost donations to their own charity.
Melanie Blackman, regional event organiser for the BHF, said: “The BHF pay to host this event and entry fees from runners are used to cover those costs.
“The British Heart Foundation took this on because we see it as an investment in this location and this event.
“We ask people to think of us when they run, but we acknowledge this event has always raised money for local charities in the past.
“Yes, you can raise money for others, but do think of us too.”
The organisation picked up Swindon’s premier road running race as a part of an expansion to accommodate a series of half marathon races.
Warwick and Longleat are due to take place in March 2014, and Blenheim Palace Half Marathon took place last weekend.
The benefits of the series, Melanie said, included learning from each event to make the next better.
Blenheim’s race was described as a success by the series organiser, with more than 4,000 people taking part and an array of spectators with various methods for supporting the runners.
“We do want to encourage spectators to come out on Sunday. One thing I noticed at Blenheim was the placards painted by kids – they looked magical,” said Melanie.
“We want people doing the same here and encouraging the runners, making it clear this is a community event.
“We are here with Swindon and we want the community to enjoy the day.”
Melanie has called on people to dig deep for a charity which is fighting Britain’s biggest killer – heart disease.
She was keen to stress that the charity’s money is not solely used for research, but has educational purposes too.
“There’s the Vinnie Jones advert, where he is administering CPR, which was watched by 1.8 million people,” she said.
“People’s money is used for popular adverts like that. They really should donate.”
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