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Celebrity runners line up at the 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon
March 6, 2017 // Rachel Ellis
The award-winning Vitality Bath Half Marathon, which takes place on Sunday 12th March, will once again welcome an impressive field of celebrities to the start line of what is one of the longest established and most iconic city centre road races in the UK.
Among the celebrities looking forward to enjoying the stunning setting and fantastic crowd support in Bath next week will be a number of sports personalities, including Vitality Bath Half regular Lewis Moody MBE. This year the former England international and British Lion will be running for The Brain Tumour Charity.
Meanwhile, British athlete, rowing champion and double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell OBE will be donning his running shoes to raise money and awareness for Headway, the charity that helped him make a full recovery after a near-fatal accident whilst cycling in 2010.
Another popular sports icon returning to Bath this year is Chrissie Wellington OBE, an English former professional triathlete and four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion.
Rubbing shoulders with Chrissie will be Olympic modern pentathlon silver medallist Heather Fell, who will be running alongside 100 staff and students from the University of Bath as part of ‘Team 50’.
Turning to the world of television, actor Will Thorp, originally from nearby Frome, will be running the Vitality Bath Half once more for Time is Precious, of which he is a patron.
BBC News broadcaster and Watchdog presenter Sophie Raworth will also be returning to the streets of Bath, having achieved her half marathon PB at the Vitality Bath Half last year.
And British television presenter A J Odudu will be taking on the 2-lap, 13.1-mile course to raise money for CoppaFeel, the breast cancer awareness charity.
Of particular interest to the locals will be the team from Komedia Bath, whose team of 12 will comprise the full line-up of award-winning comics from the previous night’s Krater Comedy Club, including Rob Deering and Paul Tonkinson. Much more used to providing laughs on stage than tackling Bath’s half marathon race circuit, the Komedia runners will be raising money for Parkinson’s UK and Dorothy House.
Less in the limelight but no less impressive in their running feats, also worth looking out for are John Reynolds and Jez Allison. As one of the local patrons for Time is Precious, alongside Will Thorp, John Reynolds is running 15 half marathons in a row before completing the Vitality Bath Half Marathon as a Time is Precious coach. John will be starting at the top of Glastonbury Tor on Thursday 9th March at 10pm, then running day and night – with just a few cat naps here and there – to complete the route. He will be running in from his home in Midsomer Norton on race day and arriving at the race village at approximately 10am.
Jez Allison, meanwhile, will be easy to spot as ‘Running Stormtrooper’ – dressed, as the name suggests, in full Stormtrooper outfit, in training for the upcoming Virgin Money London Marathon. He will be aiming for a World Record and raising money for Make a Wish. Jez will also be running 40 miles on 4th May – to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars – in the Stormtrooper armour and finishing at Pinewood Studios, the home of Star Wars.
The ample opportunity for celebrity spotting will be an added bonus for the 40,000 spectators expected to come out and support the 15,000 strong field as it makes its way round the flat, fast and scenic course straddling both sides of the River Avon. Many participants will be raising money for the race’s 130 different charity partners.