Congleton Half Marathon Press Release

Congleton Half Marathon

Team GRAHAM with Team Congleton Harriers. On the new temporary road Black Firs Lane/Chelford Road. Picture taken by Chris Hunt, Congleton Camera Club

Just over two weeks until this year’s SOLD OUT Congleton Half Marathon which takes place on Sunday 6th October 09:30. 

This popular local race, now in its 36th year which regularly attracts in excess of 400 runners, follows a picturesque, undulating, rural lollipop shaped course that wends its way around the local villages and hamlets of Somerford Booths, Marton, Lower Withington, Kermincham and Swettenham. On route the runners get sight of the world-famous engineering marvel that is the Lovell Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank. Part of the North Staffordshire Road Runners Association race programme, the race attracts a variety of runners from far and wide.

This half marathon has Congleton at its heart: all the race souvenirs are Beartown themed and the race committee are working on having a plethora of mascots present at the finish, including our very own Harry Congo - one of the 2011 Congleton Bearmania bears, Paramedic Pup from North West Air Ambulance, Todd The Tiger from Everybody Sport, Running Bear mascot along with The Town Council’s newly appointed, Mayor Bear. As a bonus Congleton Camera Club will be taking pictures of runners with their medals at the finish. Bryan Dale with his Race Day Photo’s is also expected to be present taking copious quantities of shots of the runners as they navigate round the course which can then all be seen and downloaded on-line for free afterwards.

There is sure to be a community atmosphere at the start and finish on Black Firs Lane so as many spectators as possible will be welcome to come and join in on race day to cheer the runners over the finish line and maybe create their own photographic memories of what will promise to be a bear-illiant event.  

True to its motto, Organised by Runners For Runners, the event is organised by volunteers from Congleton Harriers running club and aims to promote the health benefits of running, deliver a memorable race, and to raise awareness and as much money as possible for local charities. Over its history, the race has raised thousands of pounds for charity. For example, last year over £3,000 was raised to support the amazing work of Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool. This year the hope is to raise even more for three local charities - Friends for Leisure, North West Air Ambulance Charity and Visyon, all of which provide vital services to the people of Congleton and Cheshire East.

Putting on any a race is a complicated affair especially as they involve negotiating road closures. It also involves quite a lot of cost so not only does the race rely on the support of an army of volunteers, but also on the generosity of local organisations and businesses in order to help cover those costs. This then maximises the amount that can be donated from the race entry fees to the chosen charities. This year there are four main cash sponsors GRAHAM (£3,290 covering the full cost of the t-shirts), Congleton Inclosure Trust (£919.20 covering the full cost of the road closures), Congleton Town Council (£650 covering the full cost of the school hire - Race HQ) and David Wilson Homes (£500 towards the cost of the medics on station to aid any runners needing medical assistance). 

Cllr Sally Ann Holland, Town Mayor and Mayor Bear with Team Congleton Harriers and 2019’s charity partners - Friends For Leisure, Visyon and North West Air Ambulance. Picture: P Birdsall
David Wilson Homes with 2019 Race Director, Michelle Stevens and Race Committee member, Phil Dawson. Picture: DWH

Most will know the event’s main sponsor, GRAHAM, is the firm contracted to build the new link road. As part of this work, a section of Chelford Road is closed and will be for some time which impacts the race route. From the moment the company met the Harriers during the residents meeting held in Black Firs Primary School on 29th January 2019, GRAHAM has worked closely with the club to make sure there is a runnable route for race day and have kept the race committee informed every step of the way. The link road plan is to dig out the land and insert a bridge at the same level as the current road with the link road running underneath. Because of the closure, GRAHAM has created a temporary road joining Blackfirs Lane to Chelford Road via Back Lane and this will remain in place on race day. Consequently, the course has been re-measured for this year and adjustments have been made to the race turnaround point out on Long Lane with the start and finish line positions being unaffected. For further details on GRAHAM, visit www.graham.co.uk

Congleton Inclosure Trust and Congleton Town Council have supported the race for the last three and four years respectively. Congleton Inclosure Trust is a charity focussed on funding community projects within the town area. The trust has a rich heritage as it was established way back in 1795! Over the last 10 years it has granted over £½m to local causes. Further info about the trust can be found at www.congletoninclosuretrust.org.uk. This year’s Congleton Town Mayor is Sally Ann Holland who will be starting the race and presenting the awards with the charities. Further info on the mayor and the council can be found at www.congleton-tc.gov.uk.  

David Wilson Homes also has a “close connection” with the race having built the new Black Firs Park estate within the first mile to where the race starts and finishes.

Full details can be found on the race website: www.congletonhalfmarathon.co.uk or Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @congletonhalf