Cheltenham half marathon set to become regular event

Norman Wilson
Image caption Norman Wilson won the Welsh Marathon Championship in 1980

A former winner of the Cheltenham half marathon says he is hoping the relaunched event will become a regular fixture on the athletics calendar.

The race, which was last held in 1993, is to be brought back in September.

It will start and finish at the town's racecourse, and follow a linear route through Bishops Cleeve.

About 1,000 entrants are expected, but organiser and former champion, Norman Wilson, said he hoped it will attract up to 15,000 entrants in a few years.

"It is difficult in Cheltenham to run a one-lap course, logistically, because you run into the town centre, and the cost to stage the event there would be very high," said Mr Wilson, who won the event twice in the 1980s.

"We need to grow the event and eventually we'd be looking to finish in the town centre after starting at the racecourse."

Route undecided

Mr Wilson, 55, competed for Great Britain at the Nations Cup in Montreal and Canada, represented Great Britain in the Tokyo marathon, and won the Welsh Marathon Championship in 1980.

He is now an athletics coach and chair of selectors for the Great Britain and England teams.

The new Cheltenham half marathon will be run over a linear course, starting and finishing at the racecourse, on Sunday 4 September.

The exact route is undecided, but it will pass through Bishops Cleeve, and will either follow the A435 to Teddington or the minor road to Stoke Orchard.

"We're looking at a rolling road closure so we cause as little disruption to the community as possible," said Mr Wilson.

Mr Wilson said he was "quite a useful marathon runner" in his heyday.

"The times I was running the marathon in the early 1980s would have been good enough to get me into the GB team at the last two Olympics," he said.

This year's event has been two years in the planning.

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