A VERSION of the Swindon half marathon should continue after 2019.

That is the view of borough councillor Keith Williams after this week's announcement that the event would come to an end after this year's edition on Sunday, September 22.

Organisers blamed the high cost – with tens of thousands needed to close roads around the town – and a failure to attract a break-even entry figure of 3,500 runners.

Solutions such as running the event out of town, or by using parks and cycle paths, have been mooted.

Coun Keith Williams, cabinet member for corporate services and operational excellence, said: “It’s a massive shame the event won’t continue.

“There are hundreds of local charities than benefit from the half marathon, receiving £80-100,000 between them thanks to the runners.

“Last year, the council gave the run officer time for free and the council gave its time for free too, but the reason we stepped away was because of the costs.

“Dozens of roads have to be closed and the organisers are having to look at paying £65,000 for management of those roads along with the barriers.

“The costs are massive, especially if they’re running a town centre route.

“Although they have great support from local companies, such as Nationwide, the cost gap is too big.

“If the organisers decided a town centre event is not viable then I’d listen to them.

“It also doesn’t help that there are a lot of events happening nationwide around the same time, this creates a competition for the events and it’s a crowded market.

“There is great support from local runners but there needs to be runners from further afield.

“It’s a great event that showcases a lot of Swindon, so it is a shame that it will be stopped. We have to find a low-cost alternative.”

There are still places available in this year's event. See www.newswindonhalf.co.uk for details.