Organisers of the Bath Half Marathon have today announced that this year’s event, which had already been pushed back to September, has now been postponed until 13th March 2022.
A statement released by Andrew Taylor, the Bath Half Marathon Race Director at Running High Events, says: “With just over 4 months now before our event date we still do not have clarification from government on key factors such as whether social distancing will be required, whether spectators will be permitted and whether participants will be required to provide certification of COVID status.
“These factors will fundamentally effect how we deliver our event, and without this clarification we do not feel we have sufficient time now to plan our arrangements, or to carry out proper consultations with the council and other stakeholders, or to tender and place the necessary contractors’ orders.
“We also feel that the restrictions that are likely to remain on large scale public events this year will change the community character of our event and prevent us from delivering the Bath Half Marathon in the way our runners expect.
“Furthermore, following consultation with B&NES Council, we have also been informed that access to the highways for the event will be compromised by a number of infrastructure projects planned this autumn, including the unavoidable repairs to Cleveland Bridge, which were postponed in 2020, and which is a key part of the diversion route around the city during the event road closures.
“We are particularly disappointed for the thousands of local runners who regularly take part in the Bath Half Marathon, and for the impact this postponement will have on our 80 local charity partners and local voluntary groups and well as our national charity partners who will lose out on critical fundraising at this challenging time.
“It’s heart-breaking to have to postpone our Bath Half Marathon for a second time and we know that many people will be disappointed by this decision.
“Sadly the combination of uncertainty surrounding continued COVID restrictions for large-scale events and planned infrastructure projects on the highways network in the City this autumn have left us with no choice.
“But with the support of our entrants, community and partners we’re determined to return in March 2022 with a celebration for our 40th anniversary.
“We will be contacting registered entrants today with details of their deferment and refund options.
“We will also notify our charity partners, commercial partners, contractors and volunteer groups about arrangements for the event on 13th March.”
The Bath Half had been scheduled to take place on Sunday 14th March 2021, but was postponed until Sunday 5th September in the hope that the easing of COVID-19 restrictions would allow the event to go ahead.
Councillor Richard Samuel, acting leader of Bath & North East Somerset, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council recognises the significant role the Bath Half plays in the city’s calendar of events, inspiring fitness and wellbeing within the city, its importance to charities as the largest regional fundraising event, and the boost it gives to the local hospitality economy.
“We look forward to the return of the event in March 2022”.
The Bath Half Marathon is the largest sporting and community event in the city and the largest charity fundraising event in the South-West, raising £30 million pounds for charity in the 20 years since Running High Events took over its management.
Cancellation of this year’s Bath Half will have a substantial impact on the event’s 140 charity partners who stand to lose around £2.5 million pounds in fundraising, at a time when demand on the charity sector and the cost of service delivery have both significantly increased, due to the COVID pandemic.
In a joint statement, local charities the Bath RUH Forever Friends Appeal, Dorothy House Hospice Care and Jamie’s Farm said: “The Bath Half Marathon is an incredibly important event for local charities, not only in terms of fundraising – around £1 million pounds is raised each year for local charities within Bath & North East Somerset (out of a total of £2.5 million pounds raised by the event) – but also in raising public awareness of our work.
“The funds raised for local charities through the Bath Half are critical to our services in our community, and now with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak these funds are even more essential to keep our vital services going.”