Marathon to grow to 7,000

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THE Sheffield half marathon will be bigger this year.

Organisers have lifted the entry limit from 5,500 to 7,000 to meet growing demand – and are looking to 10,000 in the future.

One of the reasons for the change on Sunday, May 27, is that runners will be steered around bottlenecks – going around St Mary’s Gate roundabout instead of being directed through the underpass on the way out and avoiding the underpass on the Moore Street roundabout at the end of Ecclesall Road on the way back.

However, it will mean longer delays for traffic. Extra road closures and diversions will be needed.

Consultations have been held between race organisers, the council, businesses and other organisations.

Margaret Lilley, who chairs the organising committee, said: “The nature of the current route meant we had to cap entries at 5,500 but we have seen, particularly in the last few years, that entries have surged and the race has always filled to capacity way in advance as interest grows.

“This is therefore great news for the race and the city of Sheffield as a whole. Not only will it increase the number of participants coming into the city, but it will also be of major benefit to our nominated charities by the higher amount of sponsorship raised.”

A limit of 10,000 is envisaged “in coming years”.

The SIG Insulations Sheffield half marathon and 3k fun run will both start from Don Valley Stadium.

Council cabinet member Helen Mirfin-Boukouris said: “We work hard to increase participation in sport and activity and I’m delighted that more people than ever will be able to join the race this year.”

Runners this year will include snooker stars Steve Davis, Peter Ebdon and Shaun Murphy, who are raising money for the Paul Hunter Foundation, a charity set up in memory of the snooker player who died of leukaemia in 2006.

Charities to benefit from the event in general are the British Heart Foundation, Myasthenia Gravis Association, St Luke’s Hospice, Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre South Yorkshire, Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, Sheffield Teenage Cancer Trust, Support Dogs, Breast Cancer Care and the Children’s Hospital Charity.