To begin with, I contacted people who either had experience of organizing fun runs in the city to get some idea of the issues I would need to address to decide if it was feasible. I wrote to MacMillan, and the organizers of the Birmingham Half Marathon to ask if they could give me any advice or information but neither responded.
I also wrote to the council who were more forthcoming with information. The licensing department sent me a pdf containing licensing advice for organizing a charity event.
Next I looked at a possible route which I visualized using Google Maps:
View Fun Run in a larger map
For the next part of my research into the feasibility of this event, I went to those who I would want to encourage to participate in the event, the supporters of both clubs. To do this, I posted messages and polls on the forums they used most frequently to discuss their teams. The results were not encouraging with only a third of supporters stating they thought this was a good idea.
The comments from both teams' supporters were generally in agreement that such an event would result in violence between the two fans, with one typical Aston Villa supporter comment saying:
don't go on dragons den with that will ya!!!!!!!while Birmingham City supporters made comments ranging from the generally positive:
It could be hilarious - the sight of several hundred angels and demons having a dust up before the game. Good luck with it mate - not sure it would be allowed on a derby day TBH.to
Whilst I admire your desire to do some good, I really dont see this as a good idea, for many reasons, chief one being the huge ill feeling between the two clubs.The forums did provide some useful feedback such as this from the Aston Villa forum:
Good idea, I think the security of it would be questioned by the police and city council, plus, route, marshalling, road closures, insurances, first aid etc etc. Having been involved in the organisation of one of the largest charity runs in Sutton Park, I can tell you they are sticklers (and rightly so) when it comes to making sure those kinds of t's are crossed and i's dotted. All the best.Obviously there is some interest but the general consensus was that the idea would be a non-starter due to the threat of violence between the two sets of fans from a deep rooted animosity. One actually pointed out that if I was a Villa or City supporter, I would never have suggested it.