Hopes for a marathon based in Norwich city centre flag due to cost

Action from the 2013 Norwich Half Marathon which started and finished at the Norfolk Showground. PHO

Action from the 2013 Norwich Half Marathon which started and finished at the Norfolk Showground. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Fresh calls for a Norwich half or full marathon to start and finish in the city centre have been rebuffed, with council leaders saying it would be too costly and complicated to organise.

The City of Norwich Half Marathon was held in the city from 1985 to 1992, before moving to its current home at the Norfolk Showground in 1993.

And, following another successful race at the showground last month the debate over whether a run could start and finish in the city centre was revived.

Claire Stephenson, leader of the Green group at Norwich City Council, raised the issue at a recent meeting at City Hall.

She asked: 'Could the council look carefully at the costs and benefits of working with sponsors and race organisers to start a new Norwich city half and/or full marathon, starting and ending in the city?

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'This could help the city achieve its Healthy City aims, and help traders in the city centre.'

Brenda Arthur, the Labour leader of the city council, said talks over such a race had been held, but flagged because of the cost and complexity.

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She said: 'We are always happy to talk to organisers who have the resources and expertise to put on major events of this nature and would be happy to offer advice. We already work with CONAC (City of Norwich Athletic Club), the local running club who organise the Lord Mayors 5k road race.

'We have had a number of approaches from organisations wishing to develop and run a marathon in the city centre. But given the scale of resources needed to do this they have always decided not to proceed.

'An activity like a marathon in a city centre would take a lot of time and money to organise and would mean other popular activities would need to be stopped to create capacity.

'The council has had discussions in the past with CONAC regarding organising a marathon in the city centre. CONAC have not pursued this as the cost and resource implications are significant.

'If councillor Stephenson knows of a major sponsor who would invest a considerable sum to put on such an event then we will be happy put them in touch with the relevant organisation.'

• Would you like to see a marathon or half-marathon in the city centre? Write to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road,

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