THE organisers of Southampton’s first half-marathon have defended holding the event on the same day as the London Marathon.

As revealed in the Daily Echo yesterday the city will host the landmark event on April 26 next year. Up to 20,000 people are expected to take part in the event, which will see thousands of runners start off in Hoglands Park and make their way past some of the city’s most historic sites on the 13.2 mile course.

But organisers have been forced to defend its timing as it is set to go ahead on the same day as the annual London Marathon.

One of the organisers, Ben Cook from TryTri events, said the date was set before that of the London showpiece was announced. He said: “This has been in the pipeline for seven months and we have been involved in communication for all that time with the city council.

“We talked about changing the date but there could be 100,000 people who applied to do the London Marathon and won’t be able to do it and will have the date saved. It could boost numbers.”