Runners on the road to glory

THOUSANDS poured into the streets as the inaugural Surrey Half Marathon took its first steps to becoming a permanent fixture in Woking – earning £250,000 for charity in the process.

Runners galloped out of Guildford Spectrum, and weaved through Woking before completing the 13-mile circuit back where they had started.

PINK PANTER - a colourful runner

PINK PANTER – a colourful runner

And there were no half measures either, with rapturous crowds, high-flying cheer squads and roadside bands rocking up to give runners moral support in the Sunday sunshine. Kenyan Nicholas Kirui set the standard at the UK Athletics and Run Britain sanctioned event, finishing in a breakneck time of 1:03.09.

But while some relished the chance to put their bodies to the test, most adopted a charitable cause to support during their run.

Entrants did their best to beat the heat despite some furry outfits, all in the name of raising vital funds for local organisations.

Race Director Toby Jenkins hailed the event a smash hit and praised all those involved. He said: “The event was fantastic, a huge success.

“We’ve seen some great talent, some really fast runners, with everyone including club runners, charity athletes, and runners taking part in their first half marathon.”

But the fun wasn’t just for the adults. The kids’ races held at the Spectrum helped inspire the next generation of runners with an army of children taking to the athletics track to complete two laps and earn their participation medals.

Charity runners were a real feature of the event, with a predicted quarter of a million pounds raised for charities including Woking & Sam Beare Hospices.

Deputy Mayor of Woking, Tony Branagan, who himself cheered on runners as they made their way through town, added: “I was very impressed by how well the race was organised.

“Never enough money can be collected for charity but £250,000 is a great sum and I think we are starting to see the emergence of the 2012 Olympic legacy.”

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