More volunteers are needed to help make the Nationwide Swindon Half Marathon run smoothly. (Father and daughter mark 20th anniversary of sad event at half marathon. See below)
So far 30 people have put themselves forward to assist on Sunday, October 14 – and at least another 40 are required to help marshal, give out drinks to participants and direct spectators.
Dave and Nina Sharland have been volunteers ever since the race was revived four years ago. They help run a drinks stop near their home in Badbury. Nina said: "We noticed volunteers were rushed off their feet, so offered to help and have been doing it ever since. There is a wonderful atmosphere and the runners put so much effort in – it's the least we can do.
"Besides water, we also give out bananas for extra energy and ready salted crisps, to replenish salt levels. We really admire the runners and they are so grateful."
The couple decorate the area with balloons and bunting and even open the toilets in their house for participants. Nina added: "Although there are plenty of loos on the route, it is always nice to help people out if they are caught short."
Roy Ferris, from Old Walcot, helps on the same drinks stop. He said: "It's a great feel-good day. Many of the runners are raising money for good causes, so it's a very worthwhile event to support."
Councillor Fionuala Foley, Swindon Borough Council Deputy Leader, also hopes to have bags of fun. She is once again organising the baggage area, where participants can safely leave their belongings. She said: "I would urge people to volunteer for what promises to be a truly fantastic day of athletic endeavour and fun.
"I have been helping out for the past four years because it is such a tremendous occasion, which benefits so many worthy causes."
There is still time to enter the Nationwide Swindon Half Marathon online at www.swindonhalfmarathon.co.uk
This is a new website dedicated to the event, which not only contains information about the Half Marathon and Fun Runs, but also latest news on the race, a runners' guide, race
preparation tips, details of road closures, and volunteering opportunities.
People interested in volunteering can also contact: (01793) 511033.
Family prepare for moving memorial
Swindon half marathon takes on poignant tone
As Nigel Pursall of Priory Vale lines up for the Swindon Half Marathon on 14 October his thoughts will be with his brother David who was killed exactly 20 years ago to the day.
David died, aged just 29, in a shooting in Bristol on 14th October 1987. The former police officer was working as a data processing manager at Alexandra Workwear, when a gunman arrived on the premises intent on abducting his former girlfriend. When she managed to get free, the gunman began shooting indiscriminately. David tried to disarm him but was shot dead. He left a widow and four-month old twin babies, Hannah and Daniel.
"David always wanted to run the London Marathon, but his life was tragically cut short before he had the chance," said Nigel.
He has been training since last April with his daughter, Alana who is a qualified personal trainer. At the start of his training the 47 year old couldn't manage to run 50 yards without walking the next 100. "I'm a lot fitter and a lot lighter: I've dropped a stone.
"The runs are going pretty well and we are gradually building up the distance." Alana, who will be running alongside Nigel, works as a personal trainer on cruise ships and at Broome Manor Golf Club. "It's not just about getting fit," she said. "The preparation means I spend lots of quality time with my dad: it's a real bonding exercise."
The pair will be joined by three more family members: Nigel's twin brothers Tim and Jer, and David's son Daniel, now aged 20. Cheering from the sidelines, will be proud mum and dad, Marjorie and Gordon.
The family are not actively seeking sponsorship but any donations will go to the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust, chosen because David is on their Roll of Honour. To sponsor Nigel, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Right, David, holding Hannah and Daniel