The finishing line in sight for Sheffield’s Don Valley

The half marathon gets under way
The half marathon gets under way

The run-up to the end of Don Valley Stadium will be underlined on Sunday when the Sheffield half marathon starts and ends there for the last time.

About 7,000 competitors are expected to line up at the stadium - four months before it controversially closes for good, with the prospect of demolition to follow.

After 22 years at Don Valley, marathon organisers are already planning for a different starting and finishing point next year, checking the potential of locations in the east end and elsewhere in the city.

“We are looking at all options,” said Margaret Lilley, who chairs the organising committee. “We have had meetings to discuss possible new starts and finishes, but there are a lot of things to consider, including the date.”

The announcement of the proposed closure of Don Valley is thought to have generated uncertainty and initially affected numbers of entries for the SIG Insulation Sheffield Half Marathon. The long winter, which disrupted some training routines, is also believed to have taken its toll.

“We had a slow start due to a combination of the weather and uncertainty over Don Valley Stadium,” said Margaret. “We have got 6,300 entries and we expect about 7,000.”

The deadline for entries is today (Thursday) at 10pm. The capacity is 10,000. Sunday’s race, through the east end and the city centre to Hunters Bar and back, starts at 9am.

Don Valley Stadium is due to close at the end of September as a result of the council withdrawing a £700,000 a year subsidy. Two major events remain on the calendar.

The British Transplant Games will be staged in the stadium August 15 to 18, to be followed by the UK School Games, September 12 to 15.