Charity announces postponement of Southend Marathon after council “unable to allow” road closures

By Michael Cox in Charity

HAVENS Hospices has announced that the Southend Marathon has been postponed after Southend Council felt “unable to allow” temporary road closures.

The Run to Remember Marathon was due to take place on March 12 to raise money for the charity, which helps those with life-limiting illnesses.

The charity’s chief executive Andy Smith said it had “no choice” but to postpone the marathon for this year.

He said that a comprehensive risk assessment had been developed, working with the council’s traffic management team, and the safety advisory group.

Mr Smith added that the risk assessment identified some roads along the seafront needing to be closed during the morning of the race, to be re-opened around lunchtime.

He commented: “Whilst there is precedent for road closures, the council feels unable to allow this on this occasion.

“We therefore have no choice but to postpone the marathon for this year. This is very disappointing, but we are already working with the council on an alternative plan for a marathon in 2018.

“We are grateful to each and every supporter who signed up to run the Southend Marathon. They will all be contacted and offered a full refund, or a chance to transfer to another event, such as the Southend Half Marathon on July 9, 2017.

“We are hugely sorry to those who were looking forward to the marathon, and we hope to welcome them past the finishing line next year.”

Judy Grocott, events manager at Havens Hospices, said: “We have built amazing relationships with many of the runners as they kept us up to date with training.

“We are truly sorry that we have had to postpone this event so close to the day and we feel awful that our runners will not get to complete the race they’ve been training for.

“We are in awe by all of the amazing runners who have dedicated themselves to this event and we really want to thank you for your dedication and support.”

Councillor Ann Holland, executive councillor for culture, tourism and the economy, said the council hoped that the work put in by the charity in preparing for the marathon would be used in future.

She added: “Southend-on-Sea Borough Council welcomes the initiative to bring a marathon event back to the town, particularly if it can support both the economy and such a fantastic local charity.

“We have been working together to achieve this but in this instance, we have had to balance the very clear benefits of the event with feedback from a number of stakeholders.

“This unfortunately means that we were unable to permit all the necessary road closures this year.”

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