RUNNING: THE organisers of the Chester Zoo 10K Road Race have been left stunned by the zoo's decision to axe the popular charity run.
An institution on the autumn running calendar for the past 16 years, the race, in October, attracted a field of 1,400 from across the British Isles. Organisers Capenhurst Running Club donated hefty sums to the zoo with an official figure of more than £40,000.
The club's vice chairman, Mike Kench, said: 'We were forced to change both the date and the course. No indication had been given this year's event would be the last race until we received a letter from the zoo. They said that the race had grown too big for them.'
Capenhurst RC chairman Roger Knight says the zoo has done well out of the race which brings in visitors.
He said: 'On what would be an otherwise slow day in October, we filled the zoo with 3,000 people. It must have been their most lucrative day of the autumn period. We're now looking at relocating the race to Capen-hurst and are looking into possibilities with the Village Hall committee.'
A spokesperson for Chester Zoo said: 'It is with regret that we have had to call time on the 10K race, but for reasons of health and safety and due to the sheer size of the event now it is no longer possible for us to act as hosts. The decision was not made lightly.
'Each year the zoo has worked hard to adapt to the growing popularity of the race and we have always strived to find the right balance between the needs of the race organisers and runners, as well as ensuring that plans are not to the detriment of visitors.'