It is one of Shropshire’s most popular and successful community events, much missed last year when it was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now, Bridgnorth Lions Charity Walk and Marathon is making an emotional return. And organisers are appealing to people far and wide to take part and make it a comeback to remember.
The event is scheduled for Sunday September 12. The main walk will start as usual in High Street and involve a 20 or 22-mile hike, taking in the surroundings of the Brown Clee.
A seven-mile junior walk, for nine to 14-year-olds, will start and finish in Ditton Priors.
The marathon is expected to attract both experienced local runners and those from clubs around the West Midlands and beyond.
The event usually raises more than £100,000 annually for local and national charities, who will welcome its return as a lifeline after a tough 15 months when fundraising has gone through the floor.
Event organiser Peter Parker says it will also give struggling businesses some welcome trade.
“The Bridgnorth Walk and Marathon is all about community and bringing people together, something we have all missed,” says Lions spokesman Martin Allen.
“The charity aspect, that feeling of taking part in an enjoyable and challenging event and helping others at the same time, is a big part of it.
“And this year, the health aspect seems just as important. Staying fit and healthy has probably never been more important and increasing numbers of people have taken up walking and running during the various lockdowns.
The Bridgnorth Walk and Marathon is perfect for them.”
Before last year’s cancellation, the event had grown into one of the most eagerly anticipated dates in the local calendar. Now Bridgnorth Lions are looking to build on that momentum.
“There has been really good level of interest so far, both from members of the local community telling us how much they’re looking forward to seeing the event back in the town, as well as from individuals signing up to take part,” Martin says.
The event usually takes place in May, but the decision was taken to put it back to September to capitalise on the easing of Covid restrictions. This will be the second marathon, with the gruelling 26-mile route making its debut in 2019.
“The Bridgnorth Walk and Marathon is all about community and bringing people together, something we have all missed”
“We’ve had a good take-up of people wanting to run the marathon, which is great considering that it is a relatively new addition.”
One of the local causes that Bridgnorth Lions is keen to promote is that of Highley toddler Gunner Lewis-Vale. Gunner suffers from a life-limiting metabolic disease, MPS Type 1 Hurler and a stem cell transplant is his best chance of survival. So far, though, no match has been found.
“There has been a lot of publicity associated with the setting up of a Charitable Trust in Gunner’s name and hopefully Bridgnorth and the surrounding area will get behind and support the numerous fundraising activities being arranged,” Martin says.
“Hopefully the walk will help focus in on this extremely worthwhile cause and fundraising initiative.”
Visit www.bridgnorthwalk.org.uk for more information.
Photos courtesy of Eddie Brown.