THE seeming stampede for early bird entries for the newly-announced Newport Wales Marathon next April, is an indication of the apparently inexhaustible demand for such events among those who like pounding the roads in the name of sport, charity, or both at the same time.

A quick trawl of the internet demonstrates that barely a week goes by from March to November without there being a plethora of such events across the UK.

Currently, we know that the Newport Wales Marathon will take place on Sunday April 29 next year, and entries are open.

Course details will be revealed soon, but we are promised a ‘flat and fast’ route taking in various landmarks in and around the city, with the start and finish in the city centre.

Make no mistake, this will be a big deal for Newport, not least from a sporting and economic perspective.

Cardiff makes a huge show of the benefits that accrue from having a high profile half-marathon in the city, and this event has the potential to do the same for Newport.

It should be seen as serendipitous too that the city already plays host a popular half-marathon - the Admiral City of Newport Half Marathon, supporting St David’s Hospice Care - which has established itself very quickly as a vibrant sporting, charitable and social event.

Next year the half marathon and the new marathon will take place eight weeks apart.

It would be a shame if the latter were to detract from the former, and though it is to be hoped this doesn’t happen, it is not a sure thing that it won’t.

If I were a runner though, I’d be seeing this as an ideal situation. Run the half-marathon - and do my bit for charity in the process - and get a feel for the place ahead of the full marathon.

Surely, based on the timescales, this is a great opportunity for a serious outing ahead of the 26-miler eight weeks hence?

On that basis, perhaps a bit of a leg up might be given to the half marathon, particularly in terms of more comprehensive road closures? Then it could offer more places.

The full marathon will doubtless benefit from such logistical support, so surely it is not beyond the wit of man to do it for a shorter distance?

Just asking.