Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon organisers defend £60 entry fee despite concern it may be a 'barrier'

Organisers of the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon have defended its £60 entry fee, after one councillor suggested it may be a “barrier” to disadvantaged communities.
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Abigail Marshall-Katung, who is the chair of the council’s adults and health scrutiny committee, said she was “concerned” about the cost at a council meeting this week.

The race, which is taking place on May 14 this year, will be the first time in 20 years Leeds has hosted a marathon.

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Set up in the name of Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow – who was diagnosed with motor-neurone disease (MND) in 2019 – the event will raise money for the MND Association and other good causes.

The race, which is taking place on May 14 this year, will be the first time in 20 years Leeds has hosted a marathon.The race, which is taking place on May 14 this year, will be the first time in 20 years Leeds has hosted a marathon.
The race, which is taking place on May 14 this year, will be the first time in 20 years Leeds has hosted a marathon.

The organisers, Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All, say the entry fee compares favourably to marathons elsewhere in the country and the money will cover the costs of staging the event.

Labour’s Councillor Marshall-Katung, who is one of several councillors taking part in the race, said she was “really proud” the marathon was being staged, but added: “My concern is the cost of it. We’re talking about tackling poverty and inequality. How can people who are not as privileged as ourselves take part in such a sport?

“We have amateur runners, we have elite runners, we have people thinking ‘Should I? Should I not?’ If you think of the cost of participating – I’m thinking of the barriers – what are we doing to encourage amateur runners to take part in such a beautiful event coming up in our city?”

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Run For All was set up in 2007 in memory of the late amateur athlete and fundraiser Jane Tomlinson. The organisation, which puts on races of varying lengths across the UK, said it had “always strived to remove barriers to participation” for individuals and charities.

Abigail Marshall-Katung, who is the chair of the council’s adults and health scrutiny committee, said she was “concerned” about the cost.Abigail Marshall-Katung, who is the chair of the council’s adults and health scrutiny committee, said she was “concerned” about the cost.
Abigail Marshall-Katung, who is the chair of the council’s adults and health scrutiny committee, said she was “concerned” about the cost.

A Run For All spokesperson said: “The entry fee for the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon is £60 which compares very favourably with other events of similar size and scale such as the Great North Run, the Manchester Marathon and Brighton Marathon as examples. To date we haven’t received any negative feedback from the public as to the cost of entry.

“The demand for entries for the marathon and the half, which is to be staged on the same day, has been phenomenal and we expect both to reach their entry limit very soon.

“We are proud that we have entrants representing all postcodes across the city signed up.”

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Run For All said all money received from entry fees would cover the staging of the events, with any surplus being gifted to charity. It added: “The cost of staging a world class event of this nature, over 26.2 miles of closed roads in and around the city is substantial and we want to ensure we are both engaging and supporting the communities in which the run will travel through.

“This event will be far more than just a run. It is a community celebration whether through running, volunteering, providing cheer points or entertainment. Leeds will come together to show their support of Rob and the incredible MND charities.”