Updated: CANCELLED - The race is on!


Updated : Sunday 15th

The Wilmslow Running Festival will NOT take place today 15/3/20 due to coronavirus but will be rescheduled. Having listened to feedback from our local community, volunteers and runners, we've taken the decision to minimise risks at this very difficult time for everyone.

As we all know, the coronavirus is progressing on an hourly basis and we hope you'll understand the reasons for the late cancellation of our event. All entries will be carried forward to a new date, which will be advised as soon as it's safe to reschedule.

The organising team of the Wilmslow Running Festival have confirmed that the race is on.

In recent days, meetings with both the organising team and the Charity Trustees have taken place and contingency plans have been created should they have to cancel the event at late notice, which happened two years ago due to the Beast from The East.

Race Director Nick Bishop said "Every entrant was emailed yesterday with advice and the government update today endorses our stance. I have also twice spoken with UK Athletics who have no plans to currently cancel events."

He added "Marshals at drinks stations and who may have contact with runners will be wearing gloves. We have ensured that based on all advice available that runners, spectators, marshals and all are not put at risk."

The second Wilmslow Running Festival will take place on Sunday, March 15th, featuring the ever popular Waters Wilmslow Half Marathon at 10.30am followed both a 10k and a fun run, of just under two miles.

Road closures will be in force on the day covering all roads in the Kings Road / Altrincham Road area, and on the course itself as it winds towards Mobberley before heading back to finish on Morley Road in Wilmslow.

Wilmslow Half Marathon, Wilmslow Running Festival


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Helen Hayes
Friday 13th March 2020 at 10:17 am
Utterly facile and short sighted decision.

It should and probably will be cancelled.

Ultimately it’s running. Whilst I do understand people train for it, the decision to go ahead is asinine.

Not something our health services should be focussed on who have to support the event.
Vince Chadwick
Friday 13th March 2020 at 11:25 am
I agree with Helen Hayes. The situation is far more serious than some seem to think; the epidemiology is strong, and the numbers scary. The government isn't helping: as a retired doctor friend put it, "my personal appraisal of the situation is that the current response from our government is shallow, belated and inadequate".

The decision to go ahead should be reconsidered. Many taking part will be young and fit (though that is no absolute guarantee of safety) but the coronavirus will take advantage of this mass gathering. It is highly contagious, far more so than flu, and helping it to spread like this will be a death sentence for some of the more vulnerable in our society, more than for most of those actually participating.
Fiona Doorbar
Friday 13th March 2020 at 2:37 pm
Think it is rather irresponsible to let this meeting go ahead. We have just been told of the first reported Covid 19 case in the Macclesfield area and there will be many more carriers who are totally unaware.
My teenage son is entered into the run but we,as a family. decided last night that it was putting yourself at unnecessary risk whether running or spectating, so we won’t be going.
The organisers should postpone the meeting until a later, safer date when it will be far more enjoyable for all
David Owen
Friday 13th March 2020 at 4:30 pm
London Marathon has just been postponed. Surely this race needs to go same way
Fiona Doorbar
Friday 13th March 2020 at 5:40 pm
Manchester Marathon now postponed too.
Matthew Fowler
Friday 13th March 2020 at 6:48 pm
It’s such a shame, but yes this should be postponed. You can’t have crowds of potentially virus shredding people in such a confined place. It must be so hard for organisers to consider postponement and refunds etc, but they should!
Rick Andrews
Saturday 14th March 2020 at 6:26 am
How ridiculous to bring 4000 non residents into the area. Inevitably visitors will use local shops and cafes, with potential to transfer virus. We know that the virus is highly infectious- so the decision to proceed is socially inept and should be challenged as a health and safety concern holding the organisers responsible for the consequences. Expect a rise in local cases after the race.
Carol Chadwick
Saturday 14th March 2020 at 10:14 am
Just because it can be sneaked in before the ban on mass gatherings doesn't mean it's right. I hope the organisers are reading these comments, though I doubt it will change their selfish minds.
Paul O'Neill
Saturday 14th March 2020 at 12:02 pm
I would strongly suggest that the irresponsible organises take legal advixe on their personal position in respect of Corperate Manslaughter charges should anyone die as a result of this going ahead.
Vince Chadwick
Saturday 14th March 2020 at 3:58 pm
I think we can see by now (Saturday afternoon and it's still going ahead) that the organisers of this event hold the people of Wilmslow in contempt. They are determined to have their selfish way despite the very real possibility of serious detrimental effect on the health of the local population.

Both the Wilmslow and the Alderley websites carry many posts on this subject, every one of which is against the holding of this event - not one post is in favour.

I hope these uncaring organisers are proud of themselves. I think they are despicable and when the inevitable escalation of the spread of this virus locally happens, and perhaps vulnerable people die, their shameful pig-headed selfishness will not be forgotten.
Rick Andrews
Saturday 14th March 2020 at 8:46 pm
For the organisers to put the responsibility on runners not to participate if unwell is an easy excuse. They should at least verify directly by testing that each participant does not have a fever or high temperature. Is there potential for a future claim for corporate negligence? Very likely. And, of course the event managers are always responsible and liable for the consequences of their actions. As the UK government has now put in place and publicised law to stop large gatherings - the guidance is clear and present. The virus is here now.
Philippa Greaves
Sunday 15th March 2020 at 6:40 am
Thankfully it's now OFF:

Richard Bullock
Sunday 15th March 2020 at 7:07 am
Had an email from the organisers this morning saying the race is officially off.
Helen Hayes
Sunday 15th March 2020 at 9:10 am
As predicted it’s cancelled.

But, only announced today (Sunday) the day the race was due to take place.

I live within 50 yards of the start line and already many people are going down the road to take part.

Why was this decision not taken earlier? It was not a difficult decision to make at all.

Poor decision making and poor communication.

I feel for people that have, and do, travel from all parts of the Country to take part.

I hope the race compensates them for petrol/hotel bills.

It’s surely an arrogance on their part that they chose not to follow Premier League, Rugby, Formula One and London Marathon earlier decisions.
Vince Chadwick
Sunday 15th March 2020 at 9:42 am
The right decision made far too late. What were they thinking of?

Many will turn up not knowing of this last minute cancellation. The only winner today will be the coronavirus.
Helen Hayes
Sunday 15th March 2020 at 10:16 am
Yes Vince!
Paul O'Neill
Sunday 15th March 2020 at 11:39 am
Well said Vince.
David Pearce
Sunday 15th March 2020 at 3:59 pm
The right decision finally with the wrong timing - at least a better outcome than a comparable event today down in Bath.
Nick Bishop
Monday 16th March 2020 at 3:13 pm
As The Race Director, I have read the above comments and recognise that they will be written without posession of the full facts.

People react in different ways when hype starts to exceed reality.

We have had great support from so many. Far, far more than criticism.

Why dont you all as a Group arrange to meet with me. Busy for a week or two due to the many runner emails that need a response.

In my experience, people are more tolerant and understanding when talking face to face.

Our rearranged date is Sunday 11th October.

If as a Group you want to meet, please do let me know.

Tony Haluradivth
Monday 16th March 2020 at 4:16 pm
That is a slightly arrogant response Nick to valid concerns. Many people were referring to the fact that this was a mass gathering with many coming from outside the region.( Perhaps runners believe they are invincible, they are not I'm afraid as the death of a young Spanish footballer yesterday aged 21 frim CoVid 19 attests)..believe me myself and other medical colleagues in Manchester are on a war footing at this current time. One reader above has stated that not all participants got a clear memo re cancellation as she states runners did seem to be turning up. Perhaps you might give a more detailed response or clarification to your statement. Some of the commenters are elderley and I would most certainly advise AGAINST them meeting "face to face" with you for the time being.
Tony Haluradivth
Monday 16th March 2020 at 4:25 pm
Apologies my auto correct has kicked in that should read "My son in law" NOT "myself" as he is the Medic not me. He assumed you would have cancelled it last week also Nick when other big fixtures were also going down the tube
Nick Bishop
Monday 16th March 2020 at 4:44 pm
I refute the comment ref arrogance. Unless having the full facts provides knowledge.

My note was far more measured and courteous than some of the ones above.

Virtually all races were on yesterday with the exception of our own.

Only a handful of runners turned up.

Much better to meet. Its much easier to discuss in a mature way which sadly can be lacking remotely.

Vince Chadwick
Monday 16th March 2020 at 6:21 pm
Having read Nick Bishop's replies above, I now have a better understanding of why this issue was so mishandled: ignorance of the facts.

In the face of incontrovertible medical evidence and opinion which was in the public domain days before the ludicrously late cancellation of the event, his reply carries the tone of one who thinks this should have gone ahead regardless.

He accuses all the other contributors to this thread that 'they were not in full possession of the facts". Arrogance indeed! It is he who appears to lack knowledge of the facts. He even suggests a face to face meeting!

He just doesn't get it, does he.
Helen Hayes
Monday 16th March 2020 at 7:14 pm
I saw many more than “a handful” of people walking/jogging down to start line. I spoke to several competitors too.

Whilst I do appreciate the offer of a face to face meeting, given the governments guidance on avoiding social contact, I’m going to pass.

I still believe that it was a very late call to cancel - but was a correct decision - and I feel sorry for the people who have spent money on petrol and hotels.

I also don’t understand why as a race they couldn’t follow what London Marathon and all major sporting events had done and cancel earlier.

It’s such a shame that the decision came so late in the day.
Nick Bishop
Monday 16th March 2020 at 9:32 pm
My responses have been courteous through out.
And the rationale in making our decisions.

Its unfortunate that you continue with your responses when the offer of a meet is on the table...Perhaps closer to the new race date would work?

Meeting would be a far more mature way of discussing.

Nick. .
Tony Haluradivth
Monday 16th March 2020 at 10:22 pm
Perhaps it would be better to explain the rationale on here as most folk will have forgotten by October. Anyway the right thing WAS done in the end and at least it was cancelled.
Helen Hayes
Tuesday 17th March 2020 at 7:21 pm
I have never called into question your courtesy.


I just feel so sorry for people running who had booked hotels and travelled. I hope they can claim back on your late decision.

I would just like you to publish your go/no go crisis decision strategy?

I do not believe only “a handful” of people turned up. I can prove that it was many more than that.

Publish your strategy on crisis?