Half marathon hailed as best yet
Organisers of the 31st Stafford Half Marathon have hailed it as the biggest and best yet.
Huge crowds of people lined a new 13.1 mile route to cheer on more than 2,400 runners on Sunday (22 March). The race was won for a fourth time by Tipton Harrier Ben Gamble who crossed the finish line in 1:07.39.
The first female to cross the finish line was Huncote Harrier Nicki Nealon with a time of 1:21.24. And this year?s race had a global flavour with Spanish international triathlete Pau Castellvell Bella coming in fourth place.
Families and youngsters added to the atmosphere on the day with more than 500 taking part in mile-long fun run in the town centre dressed as their favourite heroes and heroines.
Chief Executive of race organisers Stafford Borough Council, Ian Thompson, said; ?This was the biggest and best half marathon we have staged. The crowds created an amazing atmosphere to help motivate the runners and cement this as one of the top races in the region?s sporting calendar. It was also a great day for me as my daughter completed her first half marathon.
He added ?Congratulations to all who took part and those who raised thousands of pounds for charity.?
Once the runners headed out of the town centre they continued to be cheered on by spectators along the route with residents handing out drinks and energy snacks outside their homes.
A new route was designed for this year?s race due major road works taking place on the usual course and the borough council?s Head of Leisure and Culture, Adam Hill, said the council received positive feedback regarding the new circuit.
He said; ?A lot of runners have commented how much they enjoyed the new course and the increased number of people along it. I?d estimate there was around 25,000 people cheering on the runners in the town centre and out on the route.
As well as the cheering crowds, runners were spurred on by music with a DJ van accompanying them on certain parts of the course and a ?junk drum? band playing for them in Victoria Park as they closed in on the finish.