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March 4, 2013 // Rachel Ellis
The streets of Bath were flooded with tens of thousands of people today (Sunday 3 March) as runners from across the country took part in the 2013 Bath Half Marathon (BATHALF). From those striving to achieve a personal or charity challenge, to elite athletes aiming for a new course record and world record attempts, the streets were filled with ambition this morning. Over 30,000 people came to support the 12,000 taking part in the BATHALF.
In the elite race, there was an exhilarating sprint finish between former course record holder Tewodros Shiferaw (Ethopia) and Matthew Kiprotich Kimutai (Kenya). Only four seconds separated the pair, with Shiferaw crossing the line first in 63minutes 26seconds. Peter Emase finished in third place with a time of 64m 05s.
Shiferaw said: “I won the race in 2007 and it was good to come back again today and achieve that again. It’s a very nice course, a great city, and I am pleased with my performance here today.”
In the women’s elite race, Polline Wanjiru from Kenya had a narrow victory over Brit Susan Partridge, who ran a personal best of 70minutes 32seconds. Wanjiru, who is a 10k specialist, did well to overcome the cold conditions and gave everything to hold on in the final stages of the race, finishing in 70minutes and 28seconds. In third place was Alyson Dixon, crossing the line in 71minutes 21seconds, also achieving a personal best out on the course today.
Wanjiru said: “This is my first half marathon, so I ran fast the first 10km comfortable and then tried to hold the lead until the end. The course is very good, I like the hills and the straights, and I’d really like to race here again.”
Andrew Taylor, Race Director from organisers Running High said: “The elite races were very exciting this year, both the men’s and the women’s race came down to the sprint finish which was fantastic to watch. All the runners have been fantastic as usual, and the atmosphere has been electric.”
60 year old veteran runner, Martin Rees, from Cwmavon set out today to attempt to beat the over-60s half marathon world record of 74minutes and 12 seconds, which he smashed in a time of just 71minutes, 32seconds.
Among the 12,000 running the BATHALF was X-Factor presenter Dermot O’Leary. After running the BATHALF last year, Dermot was back again to support lead charity, CoppaFeel!, by running alongside a sea of 200 Hooters – runners with giant boobs strapped to their backs.
Dermot said: “It felt really good to be back in Bath again and running the course the second time round was great. The people of bath are a credit to the city, the crowd support was fantastic the whole way round the course and they played a massive part in helping me to achieve a new personal best time of 1 hour, 40 minutes and 1 second, which I’m chuffed to bits about.”
Radio 1 DJ Greg James, who was also running for CoppaFeel!, had his first experience of the BATHALF today. Greg signed up to run after meeting CoppaFeel!’s founders, Kris and Maren Hallenga, and follows in the footsteps of his Radio 1 colleague Fearne Cotton, who ran in 2011.
Greg commented: “I’ve done a lot of big running events and this one has been by far my favourite ever, the course and the city is beautiful as well. CoppaFeel! is an amazing charity, I met Kris through Fearne and she was a real inspiration. This is my first time running it, but I can definitely say it won’t be my last!”
Dermot crossed the line in 1hour 40mintues and 2seconds, and Greg was pleased with his time of 2hours, 6minutes and 52seconds. He added: “Dermot may have beaten me but he didn’t have a giant boob strapped to his back, so he had it easier!”
Despite the cold conditions, spirits were high and the charity runners in fancy dress were out in force. Now in its 32nd year, the Bath Half Marathon is the biggest single day fundraising event in the South West, with this year’s event expected to raise over £1.5 million.
This year, runners from across the UK raced to raise money for eighty different official charities and the Bath Half Marathon Fund, which helps raise money for local community projects in and around the City.
Almost 1,000 people took part in the 1.5 mile Family Fun Run, raising money for the children’s communication charity, I CAN. The event was a complete sell-out, with entries closing in January this year. First to finish was James Peppercorn who finished just ahead of his team mates James Elmo and Louis Gillow, both aged 14.
Race Director, Andrew Taylor from Running High said, “I am delighted with the smooth running of this year’s event. Everyone’s hard work over the past year has really paid off in making the event a success once again.
“Events like this don’t happen on their own so we would thank all the event team, volunteers and sponsors for all their efforts in making the BATHALF so special. The runners who work so hard and have once again raised incredible amounts of money for charity are a real inspiration, and the endless support around the course from spectators has also made this year’s race one of the best events to date, and for that, we are truly thankful.”