THE Rotary-organised Black Country Fun Run has a new place on the calendar this year – to incorporate a special addition to the timetable.

Fundraisers taking part in the popular annual event will be joined en-route by the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay ahead of the Commonwealth Games, which is taking place in Birmingham this year.

Organisers Halesowen and Rowley Regis Rotary Club agreed to move the run date for only the second time since it started in 2012, to accommodate the July 24 Relay.

The event, supported by Cobra Running Club, includes a 10K road race through Halesowen town centre and surrounding roads, starting at 11.30am. The 5K fun run is scheduled to get underway at 2.15pm, joined by the Baton, at 1.39pm, for a lap of the course.

Run organiser Steve Jones, vice-president of Halesowen and Rowley Regis Rotary Club, said: “Both events have proved very successful for serious athletes and fun-runners alike. All are able to raise money for their own charities, we just provide the event to enable them to do so.

“It's extra special this year in that we have been chosen to be part of the Birmingham 2022 Queen's Baton Relay route just before the opening of the Games. We would encourage people to either take part or just attend the event.”

Among the runners on the day will be Black Country celebrity Dave Heeley OBE and Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris.

Mr Morris said: “The Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham this year is an exciting opportunity for the whole region, and I am delighted that the Queen’s Baton will be coming to Halesowen in the final few days.

“The annual fun run is always a great event in our town, with lots of money raised for charity, and having the Queen’s Baton incorporated into the route is going to make it extra special this year.

“After all the difficulties of the pandemic which kept us physically apart, the Queen’s Baton is helping to bring communities together again, and I am confident the Commonwealth Games will leave a great local sporting legacy.”

Known affectionately as ‘Blind Dave’ - Dave Heeley, from West Bromwich, developed a passion for long-distance running after losing his sight at a young age and has gone on to raise more than £3 million for charity.

One of his most notable achievements came in 2008 when he became the first blind man to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

Halesowen will mark the first stop for the prestigious Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay which will visit local attractions as part of a series of community activities to celebrate the arrival of the Commonwealth Games in the borough.

The relay route, organised in collaboration with Dudley Council, will then continue through Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge, before visiting the historic Red House Glass Cone at Wordsley.

As the relay heads into Dudley, the Queen’s Baton will travel back in time at the Black Country Living Museum, then take in the natural world on its journey through the grounds of Dudley Zoo and Castle.

The festivities will continue with a civic event in Coronation Gardens in Dudley, then conclude with an evening celebration at The Waterfront, Merry Hill, featuring live entertainment and music.

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