THE Swindon Half Marathon has been cancelled – just 11 days before it was due to take place.

The Race Organiser – the company behind the event – confirmed in an email to runners the event will not go ahead on September 19 despite “months of planning”. 

The event was also cancelled in 2020 because of Covid-19 and organisers said low entry numbers and higher costs brought on by the pandemic had forced them to pull the plug with just over a week to go.

An email sent to entrants reads: “As the effects of the pandemic continue to affect all of our lives, there are two major factors that now mean it is not possible to hold our event for this second success year.

“The suppliers and contractors required to deliver a safe event are in such high demand that we are required to pay a premium for critical services,” the email continues.

“Specifically, traffic management for our huge footprint across 13.1 miles of route throughout the town and private medical services to respond across the route to ensure as little impact as possible on local NHS services are both now not feasible for the event in the current climate.”

The Race Organiser steppped in to save the event after the 2019 event, with the former organisers saying at the time the annual half marathon wasn’t financially viable for them to stage due to high traffic management costs.

But they said significantly fewer runners have entered this year’s event than any other year, adding numbers were "well below the threshold required to justify closing local roads with the inconvenience this causes for residents and businesses in our community.

“If we’d seen record entry levels from runners, meeting these costs and justifying the impact of the event may have been possible.”

Those who have registered for the event can use their entry to run the half marathon virtually. 

The email adds: “The 2022 edition will go ahead, and we’ll be asking the Swindon running community to contribute to decisions on changes to ensure a brighter future for the town’s biggest running event.”

The race was cancelled last year after a spike in coronavirus cases in the town. 

Those who complete the virtual event on Saturday or Sunday next week will receive a souvenir 2021 medal and a special virtual weekend t-shirt. 

Others can use their entry for the 2022 edition or for any other events run by The Race Organiser group. 

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The Race Organiser was contacted for comment.