New Forest Marathon cancelled - maybe forever

Salisbury Journal: New Forest Marathon cancelled - maybe forever New Forest Marathon cancelled - maybe forever

ONE of the area’s biggest sporting events, the New Forest Marathon, has been cancelled this year – possibly forever – after more than 30 years.

Rising costs and a drop in entries have been blamed for the decision to axe the run, which has taken place in September since 1982 and has raised more than £1.25m for charity.

The number of entrants last year was almost 50 per cent down on the year before, with many runners choosing instead to take part in the Bournemouth Half Marathon, which was held two weeks later than the New Forest Marathon, which usually attracts 3,000 runners.

Organisers hope they can revive it for 2015 but it is likely to be only a half-marathon.

The decision has been met with shock and disappointment by many running groups, including the New Forest Runners.

In a statement on the event website, the organisers said the decision to cancel had “not been taken lightly” and was made “with much regret”.

It explained: “Over the past few years fewer runners have been signing up to take part and the loss of entry fees, our main source of income, has been considerable.

“Several new events have been scheduled in the area, close to the traditional New Forest Marathon slot during September.

“Perhaps you may have decided to try something different instead? While entries have declined, expenses have risen sharply to the point where the 2013 event just managed to pay the bills. We made no profit and therefore were unable to make our usual donations to charity.”

It added: “Our organisation is small and staffed by volunteers - some have been in office since the event started. Constant appeals for new committee members have not been successful enough and the organisation has been struggling to cope with the workload for some time.

“We will continue to look for a way forward and hope the event can continue in 2015. This will depend on volunteers coming forward to help on the committee and with administration.”

Assistant New Forest race marathon director Chris Potter said he was “disappointed”.

“We were looking at the cost of putting it on and we were unable to give the volunteers who helped out anything last year — it would have been very difficult to ask them to do that again this year.”

Tony Wickham, chairman of the New Forest Runners, said: “There is deep disappointment all round.

“After more than 30 years it has grown to become a bit of a staple.

“But I think it was always on the cards once the Bournemouth Half Marathon started being staged around the same time. People don’t want to run two marathons in a matter of weeks.

“The plan is that this year it has a rest and hopefully starts with new ideas for next year. Members may change the time, but of course it’s up to the marathon committee to decide what happens.”

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