As autumn approaches, so does the deadline for registering for the Swindon Half Marathon which takes place on Sunday 11th October. I am delighted that this event is continuing with SEQOL social enterprise picking up the reins after the previous organisers, the British Heart Foundation, decided to focus their efforts elsewhere.
There will actually be four races that day. There will be a 1km wheelchair race, the half marathon, a 5km multi-terrain run and a 2km fun run. You can find all the details of the routes and how to enter at www.swindonhalfmarathon.org.uk
I will be at the event, but in a support role as councillors will be staffing the bag drop off point for the runners.
There may be some witty people who will quip that a “fun run” is an oxymoron. I disagree. We all know that there are huge benefits from maintaining even a moderate exercise regime. As Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board I know all too well that when people choose to eat poorly, drink too much, smoke, and fail to exercise, the consequences are many years of debilitating conditions from heart disease, lung problems, and diabetes.
The figures are staggering. The number of people suffering from Type 2 diabetes in the UK doubled between 1996 and 2014, with 135 amputations a week taking place across the UK because of complications from this condition. Let no one be in any doubt about how serious this illness alone can be.
The good news is that there a huge range of free, or cheap options for us all to get off our couches. If you have a fairly modern phone, there are numerous free apps that will give suitable programmes to help you start running. There are many running groups that will guide, help, and encourage new runners. Examples include Swindon Shin Splints, Run JB, and to practice in a timed event, Park Run. There are also numerous health walks across the Borough. You can find details of all of these and more on the internet.
We have a range of excellent parks in which you can spend a pleasant time in doing a late summer run. I know my colleague and Cabinet Member whose portfolio covers Adult Health, councillor Brian Mattock, has also promoted the free exercise areas is some of our smaller parks.
Find out about all our parks and facilities they offer on www.swindon.gov.uk under ‘leisure and culture’.