The following newsletter went out to all Swindon Half 2018 Competitors today :
Race date Sept 9th 2018
Good morning all, I hope this email finds everyone out enjoying training in the unusually good summer we're having so far ?
We're just a few weeks out from this year's race, so I wanted to drop all our competitors an email with a few bits of info in the run up to the race.
Over the next 6 weeks, we'll be emailing out regular updates on the race and info you'll need for race day
In this first instalment of the run up emails, I'll cover the following :
Running for Charity
Race pack postage timing
Event Corporate SponsorshipRunning for Charity
Our 2017 race raised over £70k for local Swindon Charities, and even more for national charities that we don't get the figures on.
Now you have your entry, if you haven't already done so, there's nothing stopping you assigning a charity to your efforts and using all your hard work pounding the streets to raise some cash for a good cause.
You don't need to raise money just for the 15 Swindon Charities that we have associated with the race, and now you have your entry, you are free to do with it as you please and to raise money for any charity you like.
The best way to get started is to head to Justgiving.com or a similar donation website and register yourself to the charity of your choice, and from there you can set up your page and share it with all your friends and work colleagues
Race Pack Postage
Over the coming weeks, you will get an email from a company called Dbmax. Dbmax are our timing partner for the event, but also take care of posting out your race bibs with the timing chips mounted to them.
The Email will ask you to confirm your postage address and your age group allocation for the race.
Your race pack will then arrive in the post to you around 7-10days out from the race, so there's no need to register or do anything on race day, other than just turn up and run.
Your package from DB max will also include your race day guide, with the Where's and When's along with info on parking etc.
Our training programs have been downloaded around 1600 times now, which is a big chunk of you, so we hope that you'll all finding the free training plans useful.
If you haven't downloaded them to use, please head to the following link and have a look :
https://www.newswindonhalf.co.uk/take-part/training/Event Corporate Sponsorship
Unfortunately, the Swindon half is not financially viable to run on entry fees alone, which is why we are always looking for Local or National Companies to get involved. Nationwide Building Society are our title sponsor, and fund around 50% of what is required in Corporate Funding, but we still have a host of other Sponsorship packages available for companies to get involved.
Packages range from having your leaflets in the goody bag or your banner on the finish chute, right up to having an Aid station named after you and a presence on the course.
Without corporate sponsors, this race might not have a future, as the cost of closing the roads and TM are increasing astronomically, so please get behind it if you can
If you're interested, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Leigh, Graeme and the New Swindon Half team
Is this the end for the Swindon Half Marathon ?
Is this the end of the New Swindon Half ?
Good evening all, I hope this email finds everyone well ?
Unfortunately, it's now looking increasingly likely that this year will be the last year the Swindon Half Marathon runs.
I'll explain the reasons shortly, but firstly, and please bear with me, I'd just like to explain who we are, and what we set out to achieve with the New Swindon Half just so that there's some transparency on the decision making process on whether the race continues or not :
I think the most important thing is that we're not a big company with dozens of running events, but are just a couple of runners from Swindon, who set out to put on a decent Half Marathon that we thought Swindon needed and wanted after the previous (Hilly and out of Town) Half Marathon fell away to nothing and was eventually canned in 2016.
Most other local towns and cities enjoy large scale Half Marathons, and they all continue to go from strength to strength bringing 10's of thousands to of people to the areas each year that would otherwise not visit, boosting the local economy massively
Our brief for the race in joint with Swindon Borough Council was to create a Town centre based race that brought exposure to all the things that Swindon Residents know and love about the town, to bring people to the town that would otherwise not be coming here, and to generally do something great for our Town that helps raise our profile and levels of positivity for Swindon, which as we all know, does not have the greatest of reputations.
We wanted to show off the landmarks Swindon is known for, so the Magic Roundabout, the County ground, the Railways, the Outlet Village, and the Oasis leisure centre, as well as show that Swindon has thriving new big communities with Whichelstowe and small, friendly communities like Old town. We wanted the race to be relatively flat, on completely closed Tarmac roads, and be accessible to any level of ability, be that a seasoned Half Runner looking for a PB, or someone completely new to the distance that wanted an easier introduction to running a Half Marathon.
The old Swindon half came to an end as it simply wasn't being supported. This, we felt, was because it was a very hilly course, and it was based out of town through Wanborough and Liddington not really showing off Swindon at all. As well as that, the start/finish area had none of the town centres infrastructure to support large crowds and supporters.
With the new race, we were under no impression that it was going to be cheap to run, and we fully expected that we would have to reach into out pockets to fund it in year one to get the ball rolling.
In order to give the race some meaning, we had always wanted to give out our charity slots out for free, unlike other half marathons and marathons who charge a premium for them, and we only wanted to work with Swindon based charities that help us as a community of the Town : Charities that in many cases have or will provide care or support to ourselves, friends or loved ones as residents of Swindon.
In the first year of the new race in 2017, we worked with 15 local charities on the race by giving them each a number of completely free slots, and giving them space on the course to create their own atmosphere stations and create exposure for themselves to 1000's of people. In the 2017 race alone, these local charities raised something like £70k from runners, and that's just the ones we know about. In reality, that number is probably close to £100,000. Something we're exceptionally proud of.
Those same 15 Charities have free slots again this year, and with those slots, we're hoping to smash last year's fund raising achievement.
Unfortunately, the dream of creating this new race, and having something large scale in Swindon that is comparable in experience to the Large Half Marathons of Bath, Reading, Bristol or Oxford is appearing to be impossible.
Last year's race had nearly 2,700 runners sign up to it which was great for it's first year, and significantly more than the old Swindon Half ever had, and we were fortunate enough to receive an Award from the Nationally recognised 'Running Awards' in our first year, which is almost unheard of.
Runners appeared to love it, despite the weather on the day.
We fully understand that you can't create a 10k+ competitor event like Bath, Bristol, Reading or Oxford Half Marathons in 2-3 years, and although it'd be great for a Swindon Half Marathon to attract such a field, all our cost model calculations were based on it eventually becoming a more realistic 4-6k competitor field over 3-4 years.
However, numbers are around the same or slightly lower as this time last year, but the cost of staging the race has grown quite considerably.
When we launched the 2018 race, we were, unfortunately, not given any choice other than to push it to the earlier start time of 08:00. The road network in Swindon has a number of Stake Holders and users, all of which appear to have priority over the Half Marathon, so after last year's race, one of these stakeholders decided to raise complaint and make sure that the race is much earlier so that the road network is open again for them to provide their services.
This is not a major problem for the runners of Swindon, as it means you, at least, get the rest of the day to yourself and will be finished before Lunch. However, for the race to bring people from out of town, which was the main brief for the race in the first place, this, understandably, has put a lot of people off.
The start time, along with the change of date, were not things we were given any choice in.
We're confident, that IF the race runs again in 2019, that we'll be a good position to negotiate to bring it back by an hour or so to try and get more people in from the surrounding areas.
Also, and more importantly. The cost of staging the race has increased massively.
To give you all a glimpse of the economics of running an event such as the New Swindon Half, the cost to us of the Road Closures and Traffic Management alone for this years race are now somewhere in the region of £60,000. A figure we have to fund entirely ourselves through entries and sponsorship, and don't have any contribution or help towards from Local Authorities. Unlike many other large scale races, where the local council will fund this either entirely or in part, understandably, Swindon Borough council just does not have any budget to support us with this, and we recognise their position.
At a working level, Swindon Borough council have been very helpful, and the guys we work with on a weekly basis are very good, but as a council as a whole, they just don't have the money to support or to eliminate fees.
We are very fortunate that we have some great Local companies get behind the Swindon Half Marathon and support both the race, and in turn, you all as runners, financially and for that we're hugely appreciative. Our amazing Sponsors for this year so far are :
Nationwide Building Society
Chapells Estate Agents
Better Leisure GLL
The National Self Build and Renovation Centre
In Swindon Bid Company
These companies have all supported us as runners, so please bear that in mind next time you need a service in any of their industries.
The economics of the race are as such that in order to even approach breaking even on this year's event, and to continue for years to come, we either need to find some more sponsors (we have any number of sponsor packages unfilled), or the entry numbers need to increase dramatically in the next few weeks before the race this year on Sept 9th
We have committed to this year's race, so we're not going to be like previous Swindon Halves, where the organisers have just pulled the plug and canned it as they've seen that they're going to make a loss. This is something that I've always seen as a major letdown to all the runners that had trained for those races only find it was never going to happen
However, unless we see an increase of numbers for this year's race and some glimpse of a brighter future for the event, we will walk away from it after this Sept, and that will be the end of the New Swindon Half Dream.
This is not a gun to head to runners to sign up, but just an insight into how the financial side of the event works, and what we need to achieve as a community of runners in order to keep Swindon on the running map with a decent event like most other large towns and cities enjoy.
Leigh and I are not financially able to support the massive loss we made in 2017 again (Something approaching £20k), and both of us have had to fund this race from our own businesses, so as I'm sure you can understand, we simply cannot continue in this fashion.
We have put over 1000 hours of unpaid work into creating the Swindon Half for us runners, and it's something we're absolutely passionate about, but it appears the dream of the Swindon Half Marathon may well be coming to an end unless it gets supported by the running community and the people of Swindon as a whole.
Entries for this year's race on Sept 9th are open online at www.newswindonhalf.co.uk and will close 2 weeks out from the race date, and no matter whether this is the end of the road or not, we'll make sure the 2018 race is the best one yet
Graeme, Leigh and the Nationwide Swindon Half Marathon team
SHM18 Pre race email #1
The following email went out to all competitors of the Nationwide Swindon Half Marathon 2018 today :
Nationwide Swindon Half Marathon - 9th Sept 18
Good evening all, I hope this email finds everyone nice and ready for Sunday's race ?
We're in race week now, so I wanted to get a few bits of info out to everyone in the run up to the race
I'm conscious that if I bombard you all with too much info, you just won't read it anyway, as choosing which shoes to wear on Sunday and checking the BBC weather app every two mins is way more important, so I'm going to drip feed it out to you all in a few emails this week.
In this first instalment email I'll cover the following :
Race information pack
Registration and Bib collection
On the day entries
Who to contact
Getting to the start and road closuresRace information pack
In order to reduce paper waste, you can download the race information pack here:
Please take a few minutes to read through this, as it contains some important information for the day.
Registration and bib collection
By now, all 2,400 of you should have had an email from DBmax, who are our timing and bib supply partners for the race, relating to your bib and information.
If you entered before August 3rd, you should by now have received your bib in the post. If you entered between August 3rd and Saturday, when entries closed, your bib will be waiting for you to collect on race weekend
There's two windows for our registration tent to be open to collect packs at the race start in the County Ground Car park:
Saturday the 8th Sept 18:00-20:00
Sunday the 9th Sept 06:00-07:15
I would strongly advise people to try and collect their packs on the Saturday if you can as it'll save rushing around race morning, and could also mean you get an extra hour in bed Sunday morning, which is always a positive.
If you've not had an email from DBmax or you entered before 3rd August and have not yet received your bib, please drop them a mail at email@example.com
You will only get your Bib in the post, and your shirt will be available to collect at the finish line along with your medal
I'm afraid that now the race is fixed and frozen, we can not make any name changes to entries, sorry
Both the shirts* and medals are now with us and ready for you all:
* the shirts are actually a pale sky blue, but the pic makes them look almost white
On the day entries
If you have friends that still want to race, but missed the online entries, we have around 100 on the day entries available
These are priced at the same list price of £38.50 as we had for online entries, and are available from the registration tent at the following times:
They are first come first served, and as our card machine does not work at the County Ground, where the registration tent is located, they are payable in cash only please
Who to contact
I'm sure many of you will have questions in the lead up to the race, so to make sure you're pointed in the right direction, here are the contact details over the next few days
Timing and registration queries - firstname.lastname@example.org
Marshal and team queries - Leigh@newswindonhalf.co.uk
General Enquiries - Hello@newswindonhalf.co.uk
Getting to the start and road closures
As many of you will have seen, we now have maps up on our site with details on which roads are closed, and a diagram with the time the first runner is expected at any given point, and when the last runner will be through.
You can find all that info here : https://www.newswindonhalf.co.uk/residents-and-spectators/road-closures/
The roads will close around 45-60minutes before the first runner is expected, but we will have a number of crossing points that will be open right up to 15minutes before the first runner is expected
We will reopen roads behind the last runner at a rolling 4 hour cut off, and these will be reopened in sections
The crossing points are as follows :
Please can you make sure you leave plenty of time in the morning to get either dropped off at the start by the Country ground, or to get into town, get parked, and have enough time to get to the start area.
If you have spectators coming into town later to see you finish, the best route in and out of town from the North or West for the duration of the race is through the Rodbourne Road as unlike last year, the runners will be using the service bridge at the rear of the Outlet, so the Rodbourne Road will be open in both directions throughout the race. If you have spectators coming from the East, Queens drive will be open for the duration from Coate Water to the Magic Roundabout as we will only close the lanes in the other direction.
I can't reiterate this enough, but please leave yourself plenty of time to get there in the morning as we cannot have the start line open for longer than a few minutes as we have a commitment to reopening roads that we cannot exceed.
I'm conscious it is an early start, but should we run again next year, I think we're in a stronger position to push the start time back an hour or so....
Right, that's it for today's email
I will email again in a couple of days with some more information on the race, and we look forward to welcoming you all to our start line on Sunday
Graeme, leigh and the Nationwide Swindon Half Team
SHM18 Pre race mail #2
Only a few days to go
Good evening all, I hope this email finds everyone well and on the count down to Sunday's race ?
In this second and final instalment of the pre-race emails, I'll cover the following :
Detailed Course map
Pre race start area
Buggy Pusher rules
Results and tracking
Eating after the raceDetailed Course Map
For those of you that have not already found it, you can see a detailed street by street course map here :
If you have supporters, a fan club or just general spectators that want to know where the runners will be and when, as follows is a map that shows when we're expecting the first and last runner through any given point on the course :
https://www.newswindonhalf.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/road-closures-1.jpegPre race start area
When you arrive at the Country Ground start location on Sunday morning, you will see the two main things :
Bag drop Lorries
The bag drop lorries are kindly Supplied by Hacklings Transport (http://www.hacklings.co.uk) for the race and these trucks will take your bags (should you have any) from the start area to the finish area. On the bottom of your race bibs, you will see there's a baggage table. Just affix that to your bag, drop it off to the lorries, and they will have it waiting for you at the finish line on the same trailers.
The start chute is one long chute and is self seeded (ie you're not fixed in a pen dependant on your expected finish time you listed when you entered). We will have rough guides on posts that show approximately when you are expecting to finish, but you are not bound by these and can self seed yourself where you feel is appropriate.
If you are, perhaps, a 3hour runner, then I would suggest you don't line up on the front row as in the interest of safety, you don't want 1500 faster guys tripping over you in the first 200meters, but largely you are free to start where you like
We have a number of Pacers from Xempo pacing, who will be in the chute with large flags showing their expected finish time.
Your Xempo pacing team are as follows :
Gerry Barrett -1h30
Tom Rann -1h30
Martin Bridgeman - 1h40
Chris Carter - 1h40
James Porter - 1h45
Stuart Squire - 1h45
Mike Rowland - 1h50
Jonni Suckling - 1h50
Alastair Simpson - 2h00
Richard Sullivan - 2h00
Mike Ransom - 2h10
Louise Baldwin - 2h10
Hannah Rees - 2h15
Rebecca Walker - 2h15
Dan Comisky - 2h20
Matt Brown - 2h30
I'm afraid that for this year we cannot have a pre race warm up routine and dance as due to the early nature of the start for 2018, we are not allowed to play music in an area close to houses :(
Buggy Pusher rules
Many people like to run with a buggy and we have no issue with you doing so, but in the interest of safety, we must ask that if you are pushing buggy, wheelchair or pushchair that you are attached to the buggy, wheelchair or pushchair with a lanyard or belt that is permanently attached to your wrist or waist (ie. you're not just holding it) This lanyard or strap must be capable of holding the weight of the buggy and it's occupants and must be securely attached. The reason we have this rule is that the finish mile of the course is downhill, and we really do not want runners pushing buggies etc getting tired and accidentally letting go so it could roll away in an uncontrolled or dangerous manner. We will make checks on this at the start line, and if you do not have a secure attachment, you will not be allowed to start. Sorry to be hard on this, but in the interest of safety, we much ensure this rule is followed.
Results and tracking
We will have a live result service online for your type of supporters that are supportive enough to want to know you've finished, but perhaps can't be bothered to get out of bed and come and see you over the line :)
They will be able to find the live results through a link here : https://www.newswindonhalf.co.uk/take-part/results/
We will have 4 aid stations on the course:
3.8 miles Dorcan Way
6.5miles Oasis Leisure Centre
9.1 Miles Whichelstow
11 Miles Nationwide
Mile 3.8 will have bottled water, and all the others will have bottled water, High5 Energy Gels, Jelly Babies and Toilets
I appreciate Energy gels are quite new to all runners, and I would suggest that if you've not trained with them, that you take them in moderation. They are a great form of instant hit energy, but being realistic, unless you have put the time in to get your body used to them, they can often result in a fairly urgent trip to the toilet if not used in moderation. I'm not trying to put you off them, but I just wanted to warn you all incase you've not used them before and maybe have a less than iron stomach when running. We would really like the reputation of this race to be strong if we're to go on for year's to come, having 100's of runners going to the toilet in the people of Swindon's front gardens is not going to go down well.
Eating after the race
Most of you will be finishing in the town centre around early to mid morning, and also will have not eaten for some hours since you crammed in a breakfast.
The good people of Broccoli, Pizza and Pasta, who are based upstairs in the new food hall in the Brunel Plaza have reached into their pockets and helped fund the race for you all. They are the only town centre food outlet that have contributed financially to the race to help make it possible for you all, and are into running themselves.
Please bear that in mind when making your post race food choices, and they will offer you a 25% discount on food orders over £10 on presentation of your medal too, which is a Win-Win for you as runners.
Please check out their page and give them a like.
Right, that's it from us for pre race emails.
We look forward to welcoming you all along to our start line on Sunday morning
Graeme, Leigh and the Nationwide Swindon Half team
Highlights from the 2017 race
The 2017 Race has raised
for local charities so far…
Swindon Fun Mile
We are pleased to anounce the launch of Swindon Fun Mile.
Stay up-to-date with race announcements by subscribing to our newsletter.
The New Swindon Half Marathon has a brand new route for 2017. The route takes runners past Swindon’s landmarks. The predominately ﬂat and fast course makes it ideal for beginners and elites.
Starting and finishing in the town centre, the new course is largely very flat, and brings runners through the various highlights of the town including the Magic Roundabout, the County Ground, the Oasis, the Railways, the McArther Glenn Outlet Village as well as Old Town before a downhill finish into the Town Centre, where we'll be finishing under the big screen of Wharf Green.