SEASONED runner Roger Bryan wants more Lethbridge Primary School parents involved in the Lethbridge 10k so he can run the race he’s directed for 13 years.
The race, which takes place on Wednesday, June 11 at 7.30pm, has gone from strength to strength under Roger’s stewardship, but he is still waiting for his own opportunity to toe the start line.
There is a limit of 400 runners permitted in the run, which takes in Old Town’s narrow railway path, and places regularly sell out several weeks in advance of the run.
Roger, however, is pleading for more parents of Reception and Year One pupils at the Lethbridge Road school to muck in and sustain the future of the event.
“When I took over as race director from Andrew Kline in 2001 there were about 100 runners, and now we’re selling out with 400 entries,” said Roger, 51, a teacher of Mill Lane, Old Town.
“Running has been on a boom for the past few years. There are so many more women running now. I think at the last race around 40 per cent of entries were women, which is a big change from a year ago.
“People come through the school as their kids get older. There is a continuing change. Our people are always looking to recruit people from lower down the school so they can do their bit.
“We want them to come in whilst their children are starting out, allow them a couple of years to get to know the event and then take a more senior role before they finish.”
“I ought to pass the baton on really. It’s good at the moment, but we are conscious that the trouble is getting parents in for two or three years before their children leave Lethbridge.
“When I first started helping I was running it, but when Andrew passed it on, I couldn’t continuing running in it. I would like to pass it on and start running it again.”
The event first came into being in the late 80s, when it was a five-and-a-half mile run, but it was updated to a 10km route in 1996.
Most recently, the race adopted ultra-accurate chip timing, which was initiated last year, largely thanks to the support of businesses in Old Town, such as Run Swindon, Deacons, Intel and Richard James.
The more support offered by businesses negates the expenses incurred by race organisers, leaving a larger proportion of entry fees to go to the Friends of Lethbridge School, with £4,200 raised last year.
“We are just hoping for a repeat this year,” said Roger. “We just want things to run smoothly and not make any big changes.
“The atmosphere and doing something for the people of the community is why we do it. It’s great to have things like that going on.”
For more information on the race, including entries and a sister five-mile race, visit: www. leth bridge10k.org.uk