CHEPSTOW traders say the first old Severn Bridge Half Marathon will be a ‘good shot in the arm’ for the town.

Ian Meyrick, landlord of The Coach and Horses, Welsh Street said the event, which expects to attract thousands of runners in a race across the iconic bridge in August for the first time since it opened in 1996, will bring people into Chepstow and boost the local economy.

He said: “This will be good for the town and help put Chepstow on the map. It’s a marvellous idea and is supporting local charities at the same time.”

One hundred people have already signed up for the inaugural Severn Bridge Half Marathon on Bank Holiday Sunday since entries opened a week ago.

Special permission has been granted to the organisers to close the eastern-bound carriageway of the M48 to traffic between Junctions one and two the first time in the history of the bridge.

Andrew Griffiths, president of Chepstow Chamber of Commerce said it is an exciting year for the town, with several events planned.

He said: “With the cycling festival coming to Monmouthshire and the half marathon it’s an exciting year.”

“Hopefully it will be good for tourism and local businesses.”

Valerie Morgan, of Serendipity on St Mary’s Street, hopes entrants and spectators will spend the weekend in the area and visit the town on the Saturday.

The event, which will see entrants race between two countries on August 24, is being organised by Andy Creber and Paul Dodd, of RogueRuns. Mr Creber, 56, of Bulwark, and Mr Dodd launched RogueRuns last year to organise running events with a difference such as night-time and off-road races.

Mr Creber, who is a member of Chepstow Harriers along with Mr Dodd, said: “I wanted to create a unique event that is not a regular run and thought a half marathon across the Severn Bridge is iconic and will attract a lot of people.”

“In the first week we have already had 100 entries,” he added.

The 13.1-mile route begins on the Chepstow-side of the M48 and follows a route across the bridge into England and onto country lanes near Thornbury before finished back on the Chepstow side of the M48.

The events’ two official charities are St David’s Hospice Care and Barnardo’s but entrants can raise funds for the charity of their choice.

All runners will receive a goody bag with a medal and technical t-shirt. There will also be cash prizes and trophies for the first five men and women, veterans in five year age categories from 40-70, and male and female teams.

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