Runners will no longer be able to choose own charity for Swindon Half Marathon (From Swindon Advertiser)
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Runners will no longer be able to choose own charity for Swindon Half Marathon
LOCAL charities are set to miss out on thousands of pounds of funding when the Swindon Half Marathon changes its sponsor.
Last week it was announced that the future of the event, which takes place this Sunday, was secure after the British Heart Foundation stepped in to support it from next year.
Nationwide had sponsored the day for the last nine years, but will withdraw the funding from 2013.
Now it has come to light, that although the event will continue, runners will no longer have the chance to choose which charity they want to run in aid of.
Speaking on BBC Wiltshire, Hannah Carling, events organiser for the BHF, said: “As it will be the BHF event we do ask the runners to raise as much as they can for us, it will be just for the BHF.
“We know this event is so popular within the local community, it is really well supported and they have actually raised a lot of sponsorship in the last few years.
“The council has done such an excellent job in building it and we are just so excited to take it over and continue their good work.
“We’re looking for more opportunities to raise the sponsorship money that we need to continue our work, we’re really building our half marathon portfolio.
“This is another great opportunity to have another half marathon solely for the BHF, and to solely raise money for us.”
One of the biggest charities in Swindon set to lose out as a result of this decision is Prospect Hospice, which every year has had scores of runners supporting its work.
Last year, runners raised £10,000 for the charity, which requires £5.4m a year to provide its service, and it has got 90 people signed up to run on Sunday.
The hospice’s head of fundraising, Cheryl Crouch, said: “We hope that the BHF will continue to accommodate the wishes of the many runners who take part in the Swindon Half Marathon and support their local charities such as Prospect Hospice.”
The Wiltshire Air Ambulance has 15 runners taking part this weekend and said that although it is disappointed it will miss out on much-needed funding, the charity is happy to see the half marathon remain on the town’s calender.
Caroline Corrigan said: “It is going to have an impact on the amount of funds that come in.
“We will have 15 runners running for us in this years event so that won’t be money coming in next year.
“Local charities will always find this sort of situation difficult because larger charities have the budgets to fund these kind of things which local charities just don’t.
“We wish the BHF the best, it is a good thing which it is doing and without its support the event would drop off the calendar and nobody wants to see that.
“We will just have to think of other ways to raise the money.”
Alan Fletcher, chairman of the Swindon Guide Dogs Charity, who also have 15 runners in this year’s event said he was surprised by the news.
He said: “We would most probably lose around £2,000 depending on how many people we have running but this year we have 15 people. That money would pay for supporting a guide dog for more than a year.
“I am a bit surprised really that the BHF is not allowing other charities to have people running for them, they are taking the choice away from the people.”