Event Preview: 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon

March 8, 2017 // Rachel Ellis


The award-winning Vitality Bath Half Marathon returns to the streets of Bath this Sunday 12th March, celebrating the 36th edition of one of the best organised, longest established and most iconic city centre road races in the UK.

Some 40,000 spectators are expected to gather to cheer on the runners and to soak up the inspirational atmosphere. The two lap traffic-free course, which is well known for being flat and fast, starts and finishes in Great Pulteney Street and straddles both sides of the River Avon, taking runners through the beautiful World Heritage Site of Bath. The Runners Village is located behind the Bath Sport Centre on North Parade Road.

The Vitality Bath Half always attracts a strong elite field and a large number of celebrities, all of whom are attracted by the stunning setting, fantastic crowd support and promise of a good finishing time. This year the chances for celebrity spotting are excellent, with personalities from the world of sports, entertainment and television all lacing up their running shoes for good causes. Faces to look out for include Lewis Moody MBE, James Cracknell OBE, Chrissie Wellington OBE, Heather Fell, Will Thorp, Sophie Raworth, A J Odudu, and the team from Komedia Bath.

For the third year running, the Vitality Bath Half will host the Battle of the Bands competition, which provides great entertainment and motivation for the athletes as they pass the bands along the route. Bands playing in 2017 include Harlem Rhythm Cats, Cobolt Collision, Rosa Gray Band, All Out of Milk, The Corporations, Batala Bristol and Red River Hogs .

Once again the Family Fun Run will be a highlight of race day, offering entrants of all ages and abilities the chance to enjoy the experience of this big sporting event. Starting and finishing under the official Vitality Bath Half gantry in Great Pulteney Street, the Family Fun Run covers a ¾ mile route along the first section of the half marathon course and is a brilliant way for the whole family to join in the fun. The 2017 Family Fun Run charity is Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens.

The Corporate Challenge is also a much-anticipated part of the Vitality Bath Half, and this year will see 45 teams compete from a wide cross section of local businesses. With a good dose of healthy rivalry, a great sense of teamwork and large sums raised for charity, this is a hugely popular part of race day and a race that everyone wants to win!

Key Race Day Timings – Vitality Bath Half Marathon:

08.00 Help Desk opens in Runners Village

09.00 Church service in Runners Village

10.00 Runners called to start

11.00 Half Marathon start

11.20 Family Fun Run start

12.02 Half Marathon winner crossing the finish line

13.00 Half Marathon prize giving at finish gantry

16.00 Help Desk closed

The Race Day Guide is available at: http://bathhalf.co.uk/the-event/course-information/.

For the first time since 2006 the race route has been slightly amended for 2017, with a minor diversion around the North Quays development which has resulted in some minor alterations to the race route and amended arrangements for drivers on race day.

Further information about the half marathon road closures, parking suspensions and diversion routes can be found on the event website at http://bathhalf.co.uk/race-day/information-for-residents-businesses/

Recommended viewing and entertainment points for spectators include the start and finish of the race at Great Pulteney Street, Churchill Bridge, Green Park, Queen Square, Royal Victoria Park, Station Road and Weston Lock Retail Park.

The race is a fantastic platform for charity fundraising, and is one of the top three single day charity running fundraising events in the UK. It raised over £2.2 million at the 2016 race alone, and in 2017 is supporting over 130 different charity partners, with an impressive 35% of entries reserved for the official race charities.

Cancer Research UK is the Lead Charity for 2017, with Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens the official Family Fun Run Charity and Dorothy House Hospice Care the official Local Charity.

Vitality is the title sponsor for the 2017 Bath Half Marathon. Other sponsors and partners include Intersport John Moore Sports, Lucozade Sport, Bath Chronicle, Bath Life, BBC Radio Bristol, Heart FM, Total Guide to Bath and JustGiving.

The 2016 race was won by Robert Mbithi with a time of 1:01:45, setting a new course record, and the women’s title was won by Lenah Jerotich with a time of 1:12:24.

Entries for the 2017 race on 12th March sold out months ago. Results and photos will be available online after the event.

Discounted ‘Early Bird’ entries for the 2018 Bath Half Marathon will open on Monday 13th March.

Go to www.bathhalf.co.uk for further details, like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/BathHalfMarathon and follow @bathhalf #bathhalf on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest news about the Vitality Bath Half Marathon.