Future unclear for popular ‘Beat the Bus’ challenge

Bill Valentine has expressed his concerns after a lack of entrants into this year's Beat the Bus charity challenge. Bill Valentine has expressed his concerns after a lack of entrants into this year's Beat the Bus charity challenge.

Sunday, May 25, 2014
6:00 AM

The organiser of this year’s Beat the Bus charity challenge in Sidmouth has admitted he is sweating over the race’s future after it attracted just four participants to date.

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Bill Valentine says he is hoping for a late surge of interest in the nine-kilometre coastal run, which has changed to a new route following safety fears over the original course.

The race is scheduled for Wednesday, June 25, and almost everything has been signed and sealed for it to take place.

Bill told the Herald he was not surprised by the lack of interest, but expressed his disappointment as it has attracted hundreds of runners in the past.

“I think it is a general theme nowadays,” he said. “You see big races like the London Marathon and Great North Run which are oversubscribed, but local and smaller races are struggling.

“People who want to get fit can use this race as a platform for bigger and better things.”

Bill said that if entry numbers remain low, he and his team will have to ‘seriously think about’ the future of the run.

“We need more awareness that this race is actually happening. Not enough people realise that it’s on and what good fun it is.”

Entry costs £8 if you belong to an athletics club and £10 for those who don’t.

The charity challenge is being held in aid of Sidmouth charity Living with Cancer, and previous races have raised between £3,000 and £4,000 for it.

“The organisers can’t afford to invest their time when numbers are going to diminish to this amount,” Bill said. “We need public support to save this race from extinction as it is the only one of its kind in the world.”

Sign-up forms are available on www.sidmouthrunning.co.uk – or call Bill on 01395 516763.

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