Half marathon ‘not at risk’ despite threat to stadium

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Proposals which could see the closure and demolition of Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium will not affect one of the city’s biggest fundraising running events in May, organisers stressed yesterday.

The Sheffield Half Marathon starts and ends at the stadium, and the team behind the race said recent speculation over the venue’s future had led to confusion among those planning to take part.

Officials said they had “received a number of inquiries” from runners about whether the event, which is sponsored by Sheffield-based SIG Insulations, would be affected be any decision.

But Margaret Lilley, chairman of the Half Marathon organising committee, said: “We want to assure runners that the 2013 race is going ahead as planned and that it will not be affected by any proposed plans for the future of Don Valley Stadium.

“We would still urge runners yet to get their entries in and help us to make this year’s race the biggest and best in the event’s history. We smashed our fundraising targets last year and want to do the same again.”

Mrs Lilley said the half marathon, attracts thousands of runners each year. The 2012 event saw 7,500 entries and this year organisers are hoping to attract a record 10,000 runners to experience the stadium start and finish.

More than 1,200 runners have already signed up to take part.

The uncertainty has been caused after Sheffield Council confirmed that it was examining the future of the Don Valley Stadium, where Olympic champion Jessica Ennis trains.

Council chiefs said its closure and demolition was one of “hundreds” of money-saving options on the table, and blamed Government-imposed spending cuts of £50m in the next financial year for placing the venue at risk.

The authority said that at present it costs the taxpayer £700,000 a year to subsidise the running of Don Valley Stadium, while £1.6m repairs are also needed.

The SIG Insulations Sheffield Half Marathon will take place on Sunday May 12 2013 at 9am. The annual Sheffield Fun Run, which is open to less serious runners will also take place.

For more information and to secure a place to run on behalf of the chosen charities, call 0845 388 3438, or visit www.sheffieldmarathon.com to enter online.