ORGANISERS of September’s Oxford Half Marathon last night insisted it would go ahead, despite concerns from runners.

And they insisted it would be a “fantastic event”.

Oxfordshire Athletics Association (OAA) has said the event, which has not been staged since the 1990s, would clash with other races, while UK Athletics said it was “not legitimate” because it had not issued a licence.

But the race’s directors, who yesterday submitted a traffic management plan to Oxfordshire County Council, said the event had been given the go ahead by an alternative group.

Race director Andy Heyes said: “We are pleased to be making progress on getting all of the organisational elements of the half marathon in place.

“We want to ensure this a fantastic event for Oxford, and so we are working hard in partnership with the councils to make sure that we have everything covered.”

The race, sponsored by MINI Plant Oxford, is due to take place on September 25.

The Association of Running Clubs (ARC) has issued a race permit, but organisers have not sought backing from the sport’s governing body, UK Athletics.

OAA chairman, Prof John Sear, warned the city run would clash with the Finstock 10k and Longworth 10k, both scheduled for the same day.

He said: “We first heard details of the proposed Oxford Half Marathon about two weeks ago. At no point during the planning of the race was OAA involved or asked about possible clashes with other fixtures.”

He added: “It would seem very unlikely that any of the local athletics clubs who are affiliated to UK Athletics will be able to help with race marshalling, and many of their athletes will be already committed to these other events.”

He said he did not want a race to be run which did not comply with UK Athletics conduct and safety standards.

John Temperton, from UK Athletics, added: “As far as we are concerned, it is not legitimate because they have gone to an alternative organisation which is not recognised... as a governing body.”

Mr Heyes said he would contact running clubs across Oxfordshire to discuss how they could become involved.

The proposed route, starting and finishing at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium, will pass through the MINI Plant, before heading into the city centre and back along Abingdon Road.

MINI’s human resources director Erich Thanner said: “We are really delighted to be supporting the half marathon.

“We are hoping to pull a running team together and will be looking for recruits across our sites.”

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Owen Morton said: “Now the traffic management plan has been submitted, highways officers will look at what is proposed, in consultation with the police and the organisers themselves, and come to a view on it.”