GOOD luck and every success to the runners making their final preparations for the Swindon Half Marathon.

May every mile of your training pay off and may your every ounce of determination strengthen your legs.

This will be an especially wonderful half marathon because it came perilously close to not happening.

When the British Heart Foundation pulled out of sponsoring the event without so much as a warning in February, there were widespread concerns that this year’s was doomed.

The British Heart Foundation, it must be said, does important work, and no reasonable person could have found fault with its decision to concentrate its limited resources on other fundraising endeavours.

Nevertheless, the charity would have maintained a lot more local goodwill had it merely given some advance hint that it was considering withdrawing from the half marathon.

All of that is in the past now, however, and the race is safe thanks to the intervention of SEQUOL Charity.

This truly caring and community-oriented organisation brought its steely determination to bear on what initially seemed a hopeless situation, and the result is that the runners will take to the course as planned.

Every one of those runners should congratulate themselves on making a difference for themselves and the people and causes in whose honour they run.

At the same time, everybody at SEQUOL Charity should congratulate themselves with the knowledge that, had it not been for their efforts, there would have been no race to run.

We hope the Swindon Half Marathon will go only from strength to strength.