Cheltenham Half Marathon: Gearing up for the big day
RAIN and dark clouds will not dampen the spirits of more than 2,500 runners as preparations for the Cheltenham Half Marathon gets under way.
A bumper crowd is expected for the race tomorrow, which starts at 9am from the Pittville Pump Rooms in Evesham Road.
Runners will go south through the centre of town, along the Promenade, Montpellier and Lansdown Road.
They will then head back north along Prestbury Road, with the final section a lap around Cheltenham Racecourse, before finishing at the Pump Rooms.
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Amy Budd, spokeswoman for the Bath-based organisers Go2, said: “There were 700 to 800 runners in 2011 but we’re expecting about 2,500 this time.
“From our point of view, we want to really encourage the people of Cheltenham to support the runners by coming out on to the streets, cheering them and handing out jelly babies.”
Car manufacturers BMW has been named as title sponsor for Sunday’s race.
Members of staff from the Cotswold Cheltenham branch will run the race.
Also included the race are soldiers from the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), who are based in Imjin Barracks in Innsworth, Gloucester.
The soldiers will be running to raise money for Alabare, a charity working to build a homeless shelter for veterans.
For 42-year-old Steve Davey, from Lynworth, Cheltenham, the half marathon will be an emotional affair.
He will be raising money for Cancer Research UK, after his father Robin died from the disease aged 59 in 2000. His cousin, Lynne, also died aged 36 in 2003.
He said: “I have friends who have battled the disease very recently too.
“So anything I can donate to this charity towards a cure would be fantastic. The Cheltenham half marathon looks to be a great event with tremendous backing. It will hopefully be an annual event for Cheltenham. I have been training whenever I can fit it in.”
Road closures will start from 6am on Sunday, and will include major roads going through the centre of town, in Lansdown, Montpellier, Prestbury, Pittville, St Paul’s and near the Racecourse.
Retailers will be hoping for a later opening time to be compensated by the influx of people coming to visit the town, either for the run or to support their loved ones.
Town centre manager Martin Quantock said: “Hopefully, people will wander into town, not just to run the half marathon but to watch and cheer as well.”