THE Earth quaked under the steps of the thousands of runners who swarmed to this year’s Surrey Half-Marathon.
Labelled the biggest running event in the county, and now in its third year, the 13.1-mile challenge pitted entrants on a scenic route from Woking to Guildford and back again.
First past the post was Barnaba Kipkoech in a supersonic time of 1.06:04 – meaning he clocked each mile in just a fraction over five minutes. Second to cross the line was Damaris Areba (1.10:57) who also took the crown of first female finisher.
Matthew Jones (1.11:09), Paul Lowe (1.11:48), Teresiah Omosa (1.13:24) and Jennifer McBain (1.21:00) completed the podiums in their respective categories.
Prior to the action, Mayor Derek McCrum praised organisers and entrants for their infectious enthusiasm, and billed the annual event as a ‘very important day in the borough’.
At 9.25am, shortly after the starter’s gun had ensured the hugely anticipated event got off with a bang 20 minutes earlier, attention turned to the kids’ Mini Marathon.
Taking the headlines for the second year ‘running’ was young Harry Hyde, who added the 2016 title to his victory in the same event last year.
And less than 30 minutes after the first junior runners were home and hosed, the leaders of the senior event came into view over the horizon. Of course, many of the 4,500 people taking part opted to utilise their ballot entry by pledging to raise money for a wide variety of charities.
One of the most popular on the day was Woking & Sam Beare Hospices, whose team were easy to spot in the Lycra-clad melee with their purple T-shirts.
Speaking after Sunday’s fun, Race Director Toby Jenkins was thrilled with the huge turnout.
He said: “The 2XU Surrey Half 2016 was a great success. We estimate that around £230,000 was raised for a variety of charities.
“Amazingly, there were thousands of half-marathon runners and around 475 in the kids’ race.
“We were honoured to have Woking’s Mayor join us at the start of the 13.1-mile event, which weaved around Surrey’s beautiful roads.”
And, of course, the race couldn’t go ahead without the trusty work and organisation of all the volunteers.
Tony added: “A huge thank you to the 250-plus people who helped deliver the event, and all our business and charity partners.”
Entry is now open for next year’s Surrey Half-Marathon, which will be held on 12 March 2017.
Picture Special in this week’s News & Mail.