Taunton Marathon cancelled due to economic downturn
Successful West Country event will not be held in April due to the financial situation
Taunton Carnival Committee has successfully staged the Taunton Marathon and Half Marathon since 2006, with a two-year gap due to the pandemic in 2020/2021, but the races will not be staged in 2023 due to the extreme financial pressures currently facing race organisers. Like most events, financial viability primarily depends on income received from entries.
The organisers Marilyn House, Chairman Taunton & District Carnival Committee and John Lewis, Race Director Taunton Marathon & Half Marathon have put a joint statement on the event website to explain the parlous position they find themselves in:
The national downward trend in entry numbers over the last couple of years means Taunton Carnival Committee, as organisers, need to take a really serious look at all of our costs and income. In 2019 we had just under 1,300 entries. In 2020 820 had signed up by early March when we had to cancel due to Covid. This year entries fell again to 770. The 10K we hold each September has suffered similarly, although the risk here is lower and more manageable.
The vast bulk of our income is from the fees runners pay to take part, so the drop in numbers has a significant effect on the bank balance. We are of course extremely grateful to our long-term sponsors and supporters, without whom it would not have been possible to put on the events.
Several of the race infrastructure costs are not related to the number of entries. Items such as medals have to be ordered well in advance so we have to make an educated guesstimate on quantities. Like everyone involved in event organising we see the costs around transport, fuel, equipment hire, and support services rising alarmingly. This is largely due to the global inflationary situation and the war in Ukraine. We also recognise that we cannot simply just pass the increases on to potential participants. The same inflationary and reduced income pressures affect us all.
The Marathon and Half Marathon are successful road race competitions and recognised as being well organised, something we have all worked hard to maintain over many years. However, with the ongoing economic situation, the rise in inflation, and the cost of living crisis, the reality is that it would be financially very challenging for us to put on the event in 2023. The decision is as much a disappointment to us as it will be to many runners, both local and from across the country.
Sadly, this situation is reflected across the sport at present and a number of events are facing difficult futures. The sport has never needed our support more, so let's all do what we can by entering our local events and encouraging our friends to join us.
Image: Adam Holland leads Taunton Marathon 2022 by Photo-fit Sports Event Photography