Castle backtracks on entry fee plan for half marathon

PEOPLE power has overturned a decision by Warwick Castle to charge entry to friends and family members of runners in the town’s first half marathon to cheer them in at the end of the race.

Furious competitors who have signed up to take part in the Warwick Castle Half Marathon next month have complained to the Courier that the venue was planning to charge spectators an entry fee - even if they were only stepping through the gates to welcome in the runners when they complete the 13-mile course.

The event is being run by the British Heart Foundation, on the website of which there is no mention of the entry fee. Instead, a statement reads: “Friends and family welcome to join in cheering at the finish line” and that “Parking is available at the castle”.

But those who delved a little deeper found out that those friends and family members will be expected to pay.

When the Courier contacted the castle this week, its manager Tim Harrison-Jones said: “Warwick Castle is a proud supporter of the British Heart Foundation and delighted to be the location for the start and finish of the half marathon.

“Staff are being provided to cover the event by Warwick Castle, which will make no profit from it. A customary one-off charge for use of the grounds is made by the castle with this amount being donated in full to Merlin’s Magic Wand, a worldwide charity for children.”

But he added: “Having listened to feedback regarding spectator tickets, the castle is offering each registered runner up to four free tickets for spectators on the day, in addition to free parking for one car.

“Details of how to receive these tickets will be available on the website and on our social media pages.”

Mr Harrison-Jones also said that anyone who has contacted the castle on this matter will receive a response within two days.

With six weeks to go until the event on March 17, its path to realisation has not been smooth. Last week the Warwick Courier reported on concerns about the safety of the route due to traffic on the roads towards the end of the route. But BHF event organiser Hannah Carling said that each crossing will be fully managed by an experienced road traffic management company.

Online registration is open until Feb 22.