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No More Cheddar Half Marathon

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: December 03, 2009

Runners from the West and Wales at the final Cheddar Half Marathon in November

Runners from the West and Wales at the final Cheddar Half Marathon in November

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This is the last picture of Cheddar Half Marathon to be taken after organisers announced the race will not be held again.

The news has left the running community disappointed after Cheddar Running Club reluctantly called time on holding the massively popular event after nine years.

The last "Nippy Ninth" race took place nearly four weeks ago.

Club chairman Pete Hicks said: "The race is run along public roads with traffic on them and there have been a couple of 'near misses' with cars getting close to runners, as well as one injury a couple of years ago.

"Three hundred runners have to share the narrow country roads with fast moving traffic. Unfortunately it is only a matter of time until we have a serious accident.

"It has been a very hard decision, but safety has to come first. We thought it was best to stop now, and perhaps devise a race that can be run off road – one that will both capture the imagination of runners and act a good advertisement for Cheddar."

Kings Fitness and Leisure Centre manager Paul Whittaker said he was disappointed by the announcement as the 13-mile run brought hundreds to the village and put Cheddar on the sporting calendar in the West and Wales.

"Its been running for many years and attracted a lot of visitors both to the village and the leisure centre," he said.

"It was a great route for elite runners seeking to do their best half marathon times and for newer runners looking to do a half marathon.

"I think an alternative route could be done to avoid traffic, perhaps something like up to the top of Cheddar Gorge and down again."

The endurance race is also credited with doing a lot for local charities and in its nine years raised about £10,000.

But Cheddar Running Club is hopeful a successful alternative to the half marathon can be found and continue the tradition of raising a £1,000 a year for charity.

Mr Hicks said: "The Cheddar Half has always been one of the most sought after races in the West – it's fast, flat and run through some fantastic countryside, and the available places always get taken up months ahead of the race.

"I think we have also become famous for the quality of our after race cakes – which are all home made by members and supporters!

"I don't think we'll be able to get a race organised for 2010. But we'll spend this summer looking for suitable courses. And, of course, the famous cake tradition will definitely continue.

"Can I also thank the many supporters who have turned out over the years to marshal the race in all winds and weathers, and for Kings of Wessex School for letting us use their premises. Without them the races could never have taken place."

Will you miss out on the Cheddar Half Marathon? Can more be done to make the route safer or to control traffic? Write to The Editor, Cheddar Valley Gazette, Southover, Wells, BA5 1UH or email editor@midsomnews.co.uk.

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