PLANS are being drawn up to give Ilkley its own half-marathon.

Organisers are hoping to launch the event next year and expect it to raise around £50,000 for good causes.

Now Ilkley Town Council has given its backing to the event which will give runners in the North a chance to train for the London Marathon.

The race is being planned by Ilkley and District Round Table, which is hoping to turn it into an annual event.

The group already raises around £50,000 per year for causes in the local community - and it says a well organised half marathon could more than double that.

It is hoping to follow in the footsteps of other round tables across the country - in particular Colchester, where the half marathon has been run for eight years and raises more than £60,000 annually.

It is intended to stage the event in late March - with the date likely to change in future years depending on the timing of Easter.

Nick Helliwell, from Ilkley and District round Table, described the plans in outline to councillors and asked for their support at a meeting of Ilkley Town Council last week.

He said: “Our intention is to give people in the North of England a race that they can use to train for the London Marathon.”

He stressed: “We believe that this event should be great for Ilkley.”

This view was backed by Cllr Andrew Wallbank who said the race would be fantastic for the town.

He said: “I would like to support it very much. I think it is a very good idea.”

Cllr Susan Cuthbertson also gave her “whole-hearted support” to the plan.

“I think to bring this to the town is a marvellous idea,” she said.

The town council voted unanimously in favour of supporting the race.

Following the meeting Mr Helliwell said: “We intend to time the event for London Marathon runners to use as a warm up. Most of these events are currently in the south, we’d like to provide an event for the people of Yorkshire and the rest of the north of England.”

He added: “We anticipate 1000 people in year one, hopefully rising in the future depending on success of the event.

“We have gained town council support, next job is for the district/county councils to give us route approval. This is the big step really. We cross several boundaries, so it won’t be easy. After that, we will look to gain UK Athletics support, then build a website, find some suppliers and get this thing off the ground.”