THE organiser of the Bolton Marathon has set out to reassure residents that the much-loved race is still going ahead next year, amid growing concerns from runners.

Residents have shared concerns over whether the Bolton Marathon will ever go ahead, after not receiving an update as well as medals and t-shirts for a few months.

Now promoter Richard Smith has posted a video on the Bolton Marathon page in August to explain the challenges he had faced, and his reasons for not being in touch.

One of his main reasons, he says, was due to the impact of Covid-19, as he became a bartender to help himself financially, due to the marathon being a non-profit organisation and already putting money in this himself.

Speaking to The Bolton News he said: “Nothing has changed and the marathon is still going ahead next year.

“I know I should have updated everyone, but I have been taking a break from social media for personal reasons, and most of my time has been taken up by new job.

“I am working really hard in my spare time to put the marathon on for next year.

“I have no interest in making money from the marathon, I want to give back to the local community, which is why I needed to support myself in another job.”

Despite his update, some runners involved have continued to be concerned after not having regular updates.

Trevor Mercer, from Horwich, became worried after not seeing any updates on the website ‘for quite a while’. He said he doesn’t use Facebook so he hadn’t seen the most recent update.

Trevor added: “He hasn’t done anything to reassure anybody and I haven’t had any information at all in an e-mail, or on the website.

“A few people have asked me what’s happened, and to me it looks as though it’s off. All these people need to know what’s happening with their tickets.”

Keen marathon runner Rick Shepley, who has ran the Manchester Marathon, was excited for the Bolton Marathon and signed up in 2019, but he became worried when he wasn’t able to get in touch with Richard about the event.

He said: “I just wanted to know what was happening, and for him to say ‘I can’t put this event on and I’m really sorry’ to everyone who has paid. I haven’t had any updates in my e-mails to say this is going ahead.”

Richard originally planned to hold the Bolton Marathon and 10k race in 2020, but this was postponed to 2021, and now 2022, following the impact of Covid.

Runners then had the choice to take part in the Bolton Marathon and 10k race virtually, where they had to attend the course for their medals and t-shirts, defer until 2022, or transfer their to another runner.

Richard said he is working on sending out medals for the virtual Bolton marathon and 10k race, as well as rewards for a ‘Twin Towns’ challenge, but there are delays due to him being part of a smaller team now.

He hopes runners taking part next year can now be reassured the race is still going ahead on May 15 at Queen’s Park, with more updates to follow, including looking at issues on the website.

More information can be found on the marathon’s official Facebook page.