NO PAIN, no gain. It is a saying I’m sure most runners taking part in last Sunday’s Swindon Half Marathon will be all too familiar with.

And I congratulate every one of the 2,700 runners who put their bodies through the mill, many of whom were raising thousands for good causes.

Fifteen local charities and community groups that benefited are: Brighter Future GWH CALM - Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Movement Doing It For Dan East Wichel Community Association Haydonleigh Primary School PTA Julia’s House Children’s Hospice Prospect Hospice Phoenix Enterprises Rodbourne Cheney Primary School PTA Swindon Advocacy Movement - SAM) Swindon Therapy Centre for MS/Neurological Conditions Swindon Sands - Stillbirth and neonatal death Swindon Volunteer Centre Threshold Housing Link Thamesdown Hydrotherapy Pool Just over 1000 of those taking part, 37 per cent of all the runners, came from outside Swindon.

I was delighted to learn that we hard participants from Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and the USA.

But the ‘no pain, no gain’ mantra can equally be applied to the half marathon event as a whole and the organisers’ wider ambitions for its future.

The feelings of many frustrated motorists who were caught up in congestion as the race got under way were covered in this newspaper and on social media over the weekend and I can fully understand their annoyance.

Although the race was well publicised in advance, Sunday’s event illustrated the challenge in trying to communicate to every resident in the borough.

This was the first year of the new half marathon course and there was therefore a certain amount of inevitability we would encounter traffic issues on certain roads that were closed to the public.

But this was year one and I am confident we can give some feedback to the organisers to improve things for next year.

We will be sitting down with them to talk over some of the problems experienced by their event management company so we can help them put measures in place and ensure we minimise potential disruption in the future.

The route was chosen as a means of showcasing the town and to enable people to run past the town’s best-known landmarks.

It paid dividends, with organisers receiving a record-number of entrants and, of those who took part, a significant proportion came from outside the borough.

The aim is to ensure the half marathon becomes an established fixture, so we have a race we can be proud of that attracts participants from far and wide.

Let’s also not forget that such an event can be a fantastic catalyst for motivating people to get fit and healthy and the more people in Swindon who can take up the challenge the better.

From hearing and reading about the reactions of those that took part and those that came out in less than perfect weather to support the runners, I think we’ve made a great start.