Crumpet power is fuelling the success of a half marathon race that will be the biggest ever this year.
A record number of 1,500 entrants will line up for the Village Bakery Half Marathon in Wrexham on Sunday, February 19.
All of them will receive a packet of best-selling crumpets made by long-term sponsors, the family-owned Village Bakery who have three bakeries in the area – one in Minera and two on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
This year for the first time the finishers will also receive a medal emblazoned with the logo of the Village Bakery who are celebrating their 21st anniversary as race sponsors.
Race organiser Mike Harrington, from Cute Fruit Events, who manages the race in partnership with Wrexham Athletics Club, is delighted with the increasing popularity of the event.
MIke said: “We’ve got a limit of, and we’ve sold out with two months to go. The runners always look forward to the Village Bakery goods so it sets the race apart from most other races.
“It’s big half marathon in the race calendar and I think the race really reflects the Village Bakery and it reflects Wrexham and North Wales.
“It’s changing. It’s growing, it’s confident, it’s got honesty – it’s the peoples’ race.
“As well as the local runners, we’ve got people coming from far and wide – rom London, the Midlands and Greater Manchester.
“Among the big names we’ve got this year Russell Bentley who recently won the Snowdon Marathon and we’ve got Patrick Martin from Stockport who’s a 65 minute half marathon runner
“It’s such a fast course that when the weather is right and all of the conditions are right people can get some good fast times that set them up for a good year, particularly those who are doing a spring marathon.
“One of the key attractions is the crumpets at the end of the race – that’s one of the things the runners look forward to.
“The crumpets and the sponsorship of the Village Bakery are helping to drive the success and increasingly popularity of the event and next year we’re looking at getting between 2,500 to 3,000 runners.
“There’s a boom in running generally but this particular race has seen such an increase in participation over the last two or three years.
“We couldn’t really do it without the commitment and the support we get from the Village Bakery because they invest in us long-term and that then allows us to then invest in the infrastructure of the race.
“The Village Bakery Half Marathon is putting Wrexham truly on the map in terms of running. It’s now a real running destination.”
Among those taking part this year will be three Village Bakery employees, baker Jake Longworth along with Florence Roberts and Eileanoir Daly who both work in the new product development department.
Florence said: “From my point of view, it’s perfect that the Village Bakery sponsors the race.
“It’s a really flat course so people go out to beat their times, get personal bests, that kind of thing.”
Village Bakery managing director Robin Jones said: “It was our engineer Peter Norman, who’s now retired, who started the half marathon.
“From humble beginnings I’m delighted that this year it’s going to attract a record number of 1,500 runners.
“We are a local, family-run company and proud of our roots in the local community in the Wrexham area and supporting fantastic events like the half marathon underlines that.
“We bake local and we support local,” he added.