North Walsham is aiming to put itself firmly on the local running map with plans for a half marathon next May.
Local group Regenerate North Walsham already has North Norfolk District Council on board to support proposals for the new race, which will start and finish in the town and take in trails and roads around the nearby countryside.
The half marathon is one of a number of big plans for the town, which also include proposals to reshape and improve the town’s St Nicholas Court precinct.
Newly-appointed regeneration manager Rebecca Matthews, who has vast experience of community projects in North Walsham, said she had been approached by North Norfolk District Council leader Sheila Oxtoby, herself a marathon runner, to see if there was call for a North Norfolk half marathon, offering help in the way of council marshals.
“Marshalling is one of the biggest headaches for these kind of events so to have the support of the council from the off will be amazing in terms of the organisation. I am now getting in touch with the local running clubs to get them behind the event too,” she said.
Proposed dates for the race are the Saturday or Sunday, May 27/28, over the bank holiday weekend and Rebecca hopes the town will get behind the plans, which could include events on the day in the town centre. She said: “We are planning to run a shorter ‘park run’ on the same day for small children and their parents and possibly a sponsored run for North Walsham Play to raise money for play equipment in North Walsham parks.”
Just North Walsham has pledged to support the event as media partner and will be bringing readers the latest news via the magazines, Facebook and Twitter.
Editor Gay Webster said: “Having been brought up in the area and going to school in North Walsham, it’s great to see such enthusiasm for improving and expanding what goes on here. We are delighted to be able to help get this event moving and look forward to encouraging my colleagues to take part.”
One of Regenerate North Walsham’s biggest projects to date is set to be improvements to the 1970s-built precinct. The group is planning to buy the site, which has been in limbo for many years, and hopes to create an open community area with possibly a fountain water play feature and moveable stage to replace the central planted area. There would also be some work to improve the outside of the shops and hopes of securing Heritage Lottery funding.
Rebecca said: “The aim is to open out the area giving a better view and open access to the church and North Walsham’s historic buildings. We want to make the area feel more part of the town rather than feel that it is cut off and detached.”
Regenerate North Walsham has also been organising some social events in the town, starting with a first evening event on the newly-paved area at Church Hill on Saturday, July 16, 6-10pm, which is open to all.
There is another evening food event planned for August 20 and a food festival on the cards for September 20. A trade fair is also on the cards.
Regenerate North Walsham has a Facebook page for anyone wanting to find out more or get involved in any events or with the committee. Or email Rebecca at email@example.com.