Every May for the last 10 years, Brathay has delivered the Brathay Windermere Marathon from our residential base just outside Ambleside.
It’s an event which causes ripples throughout our organisation and, at the same time, brings us all together. I guess what I mean is we’re not actually events’ organisers we’re a children & young peoples’ charity and our primary driver, what’s at our very heart, is the work we do with those very same young people.
It’s not just a Marathon, we’ve got the 10in10 (yes, that is what you think, 10 BWMs in 10 days) and last year we added the Half, and don’t forget the Family Fun Day (what it says on the tin).These days we call the whole event BrathayRunning to keep things simple. It’s become our primary source of unrestricted funds – money that we can use in the most flexible way to continue and develop our work. That’s work, I would add, that the evidence shows has a lasting impact and really does help change lives (ok, I’m an accountant, so obviously that appeals to me, real, tangible benefits).
Our first 10in10 was quite literally one of the first events of its type and back in 2007 there were not that many other marathons out there. These days there’s a plethora of running events with people willing to travel all over the world to take part. We’re consistently told we’re one of the best – scenic, friendly & well organised. Nice to have it confirmed a couple of years ago when the readers of Runners’ World Magazine told is so officially and very recently we were included in their list of “15 amazing UK marathons that aren't in London”.
Words aren’t enough though and we would be letting our beneficiaries down if we did not look to make the most of our event. Bringing in enough runners remains a challenge and the stats tell us that there’s a growing interest in half marathons, hence the addition of our Half in 2016. We capped the number of entries, wanting to be sure that we did not want to compromise the quality of the Brathay experience. We tried to deliver an event reflecting Brathay’s values of Inspire, Support, Share, Achieve and the feedback from runners tells us we got this just about right.
In order to deliver the Half we had a four hour road closure on the route. We are extremely grateful for the support we receive from our local community but some feedback tells us that this caused more problems than we had anticipated. We’re looking to change the event for 2017 to address the concerns raised.
We strongly believe that the event should and can be of benefit to all of us, a view reinforced by an independent report commissioned by Allerdale Council into the impact of the Keswick Triathlon. In this, its inaugural year, we are told the event had more than 300 competitors, 70%+ of whom came from outside the county and brought £1.49m in to the local economy. With 1,200 participants, 89% of whom came from outside Cumbria, the BrathayRunning events must at least match this.