THE people of Swindon joined their mayor to help him complete a massive day-long marathon which supported three good causes and encouraged exercise.

Mayor Junab Ali visited several Swindon sights on a 12-hour 26-mile tour of the town with support from enthusiastic council workers, fitness fans, community figures and school pupils.

Coun Ali said: “This was the first time I’d done anything more than a half-marathon but I got a lot of energy from thinking about the great causes this was supporting, every penny counts.

“I started getting into fitness because of my diabetes - exercise helps lower blood sugar levels - and at first doing a 5km or 10km run seemed frightening and now it’s easy, but a marathon was still quite daunting, though I had great people helping me along the way.

“The most important thing about this was the people taking part, no matter how young or old they were, this brought the town together, it’s important to stay active.”

The thousands of pounds raised from the marathon effort will go towards the mayor’s chosen charities Swindon 105.5, the Harbour Project and Twigs.

Swindon Advertiser:

Harbour Project CEO Claire Garrett came up with the idea for the run and took part in one section with her daughters even though it was the day after her husband Andy died. She said: “We’re doing this in my husband’s memory with my daughters, it’s a gruelling task. Originally, Juanb wanted to run in the Swindon Half Marathon and London Marathon during his mayoral year because he’s all about championing exercise, but couldn’t get a place in London, so we set this up instead.”

The route began at the Link Centre shortly after sunrise and continued to Les Slinn Personal Training, Westlea Primary School, North Star Avenue, the borough council offices, Commonweal School, and Nationwide’s HQ on Pipers Way before finishing at Broome Manor Golf Club with the Shin Splints in the early evening.

Runners joined the mayor for a four-mile section, schoolchildren ran two miles of laps at their school grounds and a couple of brave volunteers tried to tackle the whole route.

Chief executive of UK SBS Richard Semple, a Polaris House running club member, ran alongside the mayor when he reached the Research Council. He said: “It was great to put my running legs on to support Junab in his marathon fundraiser for some fantastic local charities that make a real difference in our community. As an established Swindon employer, lending our support to local charities really matters to UK SBS and our employees, and together with our colleagues in Polaris House we have supported many Swindon and Wiltshire based charities over the years.”