Featured Charity of the Month

West Lothian Run

Article appeared in the Konect Directory, Livingston, Bathgate and Calders editions, March 2014

Marathon season is coming up and our streets and parks are full of runners training for various marathons. If you're not up to running a full marathon but want to run for charity, or want to participate in a shorter run for training, you need to know about West Lothian Run.

“We're the local West Lothian version of the Edinburgh marathon, except we have fun runs for non-runners too”, explains organiser and the charity's CEO Lindsay Colman. “We wanted to set up a series of runs where people and charities could raise money for their chosen cause without the high entrance fees required by larger marathon organisations.”

Winding back to the beginning of the story of West Lothian Run ... Lindsay tells me that the idea was born when she was planning to enter a large marathon a few years ago in order to fund-raise. She wanted to support a fund set up in memory of her great-nephew who had died as a baby from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. The condition is operable and the memorial fund provides families with vital monitoring equipment needed at home after the surgery. “The entrance fee was so high it would have taken a huge chunk out of what I was able to raise. So I set up West Lothian Run instead.” In consultation with others, West Lothian Run was born in July 2008. The charming logo depicting the iconic Five Sisters bings was designed by John Hardie of Blackburn; the route for their first event, a half marathon starting from Meadow Park in Bathgate, was planned and tested by Alan Reid (keen runner and retired community beat officer from Bathgate) The inaugural event took place in May 2009.

Since then the runs have steadily grown in terms of number of participants and number of runs arranged each year. The aim of the charity is to promote fitness for all the family within West Lothian and to provide accessible events for people to fund-raise for their chosen causes.

There are now three running events held annually. They include short fun runs too so that there is something for everyone including non-runners and young children. Any group, charity or individual can enter a run, there is no minimum team size and the entrance fees are very low (the half marathon entrance fee is just £15).

“We are an approachable and friendly organisation,”says Lindsay, “and we're here to help people run, have fun and of course raise money if they choose.”

The Easter event is held in Beecraigs Country Park (near Linlithgow) and consists of 2k, 5k and 10k runs and will be held on Sunday 20th April.

The Half Marathon event starts from Meadow Park in Bathgate and also has 2k and 7k options, and will be held on 11th August.

The Santa Fun Run consists of a 2k and a 5k run and starts at Livingston Football Stadium and will be held on 30th November.

West Lothian Run's mascot "FitKit" with a young fundraiser at the 2013 Easter Run 

So what is involved in planning and organising the runs? Lindsay explains to me that the routes are well established now, although there are seemingly endless permission forms to be completed each time for the council, police and Rangers (in the case of the Beecraigs event). Route marshalls have to be arranged (the air cadets, army cadets and scouts usually step in to help here); first aid coverage for the day has to be in place. And or course the never-ending task of promoting West Lothian Run. There are seven board members who come from all walks of life – runners and non runners, local business people as well as Councillor Willie Boyle - who keep the charity going behind the scenes.

West Lothian Run provides expertise and help to other running events in particular the Armadale Run for Fun – they help with registration process and marshalling.

Registration is open now for the Easter Beecraigs run, visit the website at www.westlothianrun.co.uk to register.

If you want to get involved in West Lothian Run in any other way please contact them. They meet once a month in the Bathgate Partnership Centre and new volunteers are always welcome to bring new ideas to the run and help promote and grow it throughout West Lothian.

Corporate sponsorships are available for local businesses.


facebook : www.facebook.com/WestLothianRun