PLANS to bring back Bolton Marathon after more than three decades are back on track, with organisers announcing a new date for the race in 2021..

The 26 mile run should have gone ahead this year ­— after a 33 year absence ­—but the onset of the pandemic forced it to be postponed.

It will now take place on Sunday, May 16.

The route starts and finishes in Queens Park in Bolton town centre and runs in a loop around Bolton, including communities such as Smithills, Sharples, Bromley Cross, Harwood, Darcy Lever, Little Lever and Farnworth.

Race Director Richard Smith said: “We are absolutely delighted to confirm that the resurrected Bolton Marathon will take place on May 16 next year.

“It is great news for everyone who has signed up to take part, volunteers, charities, our sponsors and all those, especially Bolton Council, who have supported us through what has been a very challenging year.”

The Bolton Marathon ran from 1981-1987 and was said at one point bigger than the London Marathon, with thousands flocking from all over the world to take part.

Work has been continuing in the background to make Bolton Marathon the most sustainable running event in the world.

It is focussed on eradicating single use plastic from the event and events will take place in the build up to the race.

Already underway before the pandemic struck was the Bolton Marathon Primary Schools Challenge and almost 19,000 youngsters were motivated to run and walk at school.

And the Bolton Marathon Community Trust will support local groups, residents and charities throughout the region to become more active 365 days a year.

Bolton Hospice has been chosen as the preferred charity for Bolton Marathon.

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Richard said: “Our aim was always to deliver a marathon like no other.

“The race will be the most sustainable running event in the world and we are relentless in our quest to eradicate single-use plastic from the event.”

He added: “The impact of the coronavirus epidemic on our NHS, local authority services, local businesses, plus the continued uncertainty about when restrictions will be eased meant we were left with no choice to make the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event.

“Obviously, the new date we are announcing officially today is subject to government guidance for mass participation events.”

Richard said: “Since announcing the launch we have had huge support and our amazing community of runners has backed us all the way.

Those who have registered for the Marathon and the 10k race have been given two options:

•Defer to May 16, 2021. Those who have registered do not need to do anything to defer their places as this will be done automatically.

•Transfer their entry