Bridgnorth Walk to add a marathon in major transformation
The Bridgnorth Walk will have a major transformation this year – adding a marathon for the first time.
The walk is one of the biggest one-day charity events in Shropshire and will this year take place alongside a newly established Bridgnorth Marathon for runners.
Organisers have said it is a major step forward for the traditional event, which has been running for more than 50 years.
The combined walk and marathon will take place on May 27, the late spring Bank Holiday.
Richard Stilwell, president of the Bridgnorth Lions, said: "We see this as a major step forward as we want to continue to look at every opportunity to make these fantastic community events enjoyable for as many groups as possible – for competitive runners and competitive walkers as well as those who do the events to have fun and raise money for their favourite charities.
“The Bridgnorth Walk has taken place for more than 50 years and is one of the highlights of the local community calendar, raising more than £100,000 for charity every year. However, since Bridgnorth Lions took over the running of the event we’ve brought it up to date with safety innovations and improvements. The Marathon event will bring added benefits for runners and bring more people to the town.”
Runners will set off from the high street at 9am, one hour earlier than the walkers and the fastest are expected to return from the 26.7 mile route around 12.30pm.
Walkers will follow the same routes as last year with a 22 mile event for under 40s, a 20 mile event for the over 40s and a seven mile event in Ditton Priors for children aged between nine and 15.
Mr Stilwell said it was going to be a challenging marathon for runners.
“More and more people are taking part in running events so we felt we should offer something for them," he said.
"This will be a very challenging event, running up and down hills, including a climb to the top of the Brown Clee. The route will follow the walk all the way to the top of the hill but then runners will go back down the other side, across to Burf Bank, then round to Cockshutford and back round to Bent Lane. This will provide the extra four miles to make it an official marathon.
“We’ve taken advice from the Bridgnorth Running Club and they’ve indicated that it will be an exciting event for their members and for runners from other clubs throughout the West Midlands and even further afield. Currently, there are only a few marathons within a 50 mile radius so we expect interest from both competitive and club level athletes.”
Runners and walkers will be marshalled by volunteers from local organisations every mile along the route. Motorcycle marshals will help marshal traffic.
Scott Mathers, secretary of Bridgnorth Running Club, said: “This is great news for local runners who want to do a marathon distance. To do such an event in their home area will be fantastic and with the added benefit of not having the costs associated with events a long way from home. Our own Bridgnorth 10K event has grown every year and we expect that the Bridgnorth Lions Marathon will attract great support in the coming years.”
Walkers and runners will be able to register for the event on a new Bridgnorth Lions Walk and Marathon website, due to go live on February 1.
Entry fees for walkers will remain the same at £15 while runners will pay £25 as they are not expected to be raising funds for charity purposes.