THE first staging of the Ealing Half Marathon has the blessing of churches affected by road closures.

With their congregations affected next Sunday (September 30), the churches have decided to go the extra mile and take part in the event.

St Stephen’s in North Ealing will have an open-to-all free café in its forecourt and will encourage some of its congregation to staff a water station for the runners, instead of attending the usual 10am service.

“If we were locked away in a service while this was going on, we’d be missing an opportunity,” said the Rev Steve Newbold. “Instead, we’re bringing the church out into the community.”

Runners will be able to load up on carbohydrates at St. Peter’s “pasta party” between 5.30 and 7pm on the eve of the race for a £2 donation.

The Mount Park Road church will also hold a dedication service at 5pm on the Saturday.

The drinks station at the finish will be run by the South Ealing churches of St John’s and St Mary’s.

Leaders of other affected churches, including Ealing Abbey, St Andrew’s United Reformed Church and Haven Green Baptist Church, are to give their congregations early warnings about access restrictions caused by unavoidable road closures and bus diversions.

Race director Kelvin Walker said he was delighted at the reaction of the churches.

The race, which starts and finishes in Lammas Park, is being organised by the Ealing Eagles Running Club, founded in 2009 for runners of all standards.

The event will be supporting Epilepsy Action, which aims to improve epilepsy services and raise awareness of the condition.

For more information on the race, visit: