NEARLY 5,000 runners of all ages took part in the Mercer Surrey Half Marathon and two shorter races last Sunday around Woking.
Thousands more spectators filled Woking Park for the event that started and finished at the Leisure Centre. More than 3,600 runners braved the rain to compete in the main event, which had been named as“The UK’s Best Road Run Race” by independent race review website Racecheck.
For those not quite up to the 13.1 miles (21km), there was the inaugural 5k event that attracted just short of 500 entrants. The same number also took part in the 2k Kids’ Race.
Andrius Jaksevicius, running for Belgrave Harriers, came first in the Half Marathon, finishing in 1hr 9min, 49sec. Just under a minute later, Stephen Blake from Woking Athletics Club crossed the finish line to claim second place. Stephen said: “It’s a brilliant event, I’ve done it the last three years now and it’s getting bigger and better every year.”
Helena Eastham, the first woman across the line in 1h 22min 26sec, said “I’m very happy with my time … This is the best half marathon I’ve done, it’s absolutely fantastic.”
Among those taking part was Tony “The Fridge” Morrison, who completed the race while carrying a 42kg (93lb) fridge on his back. Like many of the year’s runners, Tony was raising money for charity and dedicated his achievement to a close family member who has been diagnosed with cancer.
The 5k race was won by Ben Bishop of Woking AC in 16min 59sec, with Mark Rowland of Waverley Harriers third and James Spencer of Woking AC third. Katie Hopkins was the first girl home and finished 7th overall.
Woking children performed well in the kids’ race with Nathan Holmes, George Christmas and Sava Vujnovic finishing second, third and fourth. Top honours went to Harry Hyde of Farnham. Out on the run course there were five water stations manned by a small army of volunteers and local cadets.Hundreds of local residents took to the streets at various “Cheer Stations” to applaud runners and provide high fives and jelly babies!
A particular thanks is extended to two of the live bands who performed on the route every year – the Surrey Youth Brass Ensemble and Ukejam.
Race Director Toby Jenkins and his team of organisers – Rory, Becky and Hollie – extend their thanks to these businesses for supporting the event, and also to all the runners, volunteers, marshals, spectators, bands and staff “whose spirits were not dampened by the weather”