SWINDON’S half marathon may be cancelled this year but a running event of a different kind will come to the town next month.

And it has a clear emphasis on the environment.

Matt Jones has organised the Swindon Ultra Trail 50k, which starts and finishes in Lydiard Park on October 10.

The 40-year-old Swindon man, who founded Only Footprint Events, said: “The company came about through seeing all the waste produced from large scale events like the London Marathon.

“I want to put on events that are the complete opposite, offsetting all the company actions and purchases.

“We will offer participants opportunities to offset their journeys to and from our events, options to plant a tree instead of taking a race t-shirt and we will be litter picking all of our event routes before and after each event.

“It is definitely important companies like us do our bit to help with this climate crisis.

“Seeing how much water is used to produce one t-shirt is really an eye-opener.

“The government are starting to say the right things, but action needs to be taken and large companies held accountable for their actions.

“It does seem it is a little too late.

“We will keep doing our thing though.”

Any distance over the 26.2 miles of a marathon is classed as an ultra-marathon.

The shortest ultra events are 50k but some are more than 200 miles.

The Swindon course will take in places such as Bincknoll Castle, the Ridgeway, Old Town, the old railway line and Purton to finish.

It is part of an old walking route devised by Swindon Borough Council in the early 2000s.

Matt came across one of the walking post discs on a training run and it sparked his initial interest.

He said: “Early interest for the event, seemed very positive. A mixture of Covid putting the start date back and administration/planning issues have lowered the interest and sign-ups.

“So hopefully this year’s event is a positive experience for everyone involved and it grows year to year.

“The plan is to make this race a yearly event.

“And we have quite a few races planned for next year, from coastal events in Scotland, long-distance trail events around the UK and Wiltshire and even a track marathon 24-hour event.

“And we are looking into shorter distance events to include more runners and hopefully spread the word about our eco-friendly events.”

For more information see the Swindon Ultra Trail 50 page on Facebook.