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City race runs into row over route change
Organisers of this year’s Bradford City Run have reined in the notoriously tough half-marathon route of the previous three years to a 5k loop from the city centre.
Sports and leisure chiefs at Bradford Council said they hoped the new route would make the run more appealing to a wider range of people, but running clubs have said they are “disappointed” with the new format, which allows competitors to decide between completing the course once or taking it on twice for a 10k race.
The run, which last year took in gruelling hills through the Bronte countryside, will start and finish at the City Park, where there will also be a Sports Village for everyone to enjoy.
Phil Barker, Bradford Council’s assistant director for sport and leisure, said: “We have a strong commitment to health and fitness through the Bactive and Bradford Gold programmes, and the Bradford City Run 2012 will provide everyone, regardless of age or ability, with a way of getting involved in sport.
“This is obviously a major sporting year for the whole country and Bradford is proud to be playing its part, including welcoming the Olympic Torch Relay on Sunday, June 24.
“It is also a great opportunity for fundraising and for people to show support for their local charities including the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.”
The run will take place on Sunday, September 30, and will form a 5k loop encompassing the University of Bradford and Bradford College campuses before making its way back to the city centre.
But running clubs have expressed disappointment at the revised route.
Martin Peace, president of the Bingley Harriers, said: “I think it will put some of the better runners off because it’s neither a 5k nor a 10k.
“It turns it more into a fun run than a competitive race.
“It may well attract a larger field, but they already have a Bradford 10k, which is a fast route and will attract competitive athletes because it’s a reasonably flat course.
“I’m disappointed with the announcement – I’m not sure what they are trying to achieve.”
Barney Lerner, membership secretary at the Saltaire Strivers, said: “One thing about having a tough half-marathon is that you do then get yourself a reputation and people who are interested in such things want to come and do it, but it does put off a lot of people.
“The other thing is there are a lot of 10ks around and the 5k Park Run is free every Saturday.
“You just need to be sure that you are not competing in a pool that is already very busy.”
The latest updates on the course can be viewed on bradfordcityrun.com.
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