The streets of Bath were filled yesterday (Sunday 13th March) with 12,700 runners and tens of thousands of spectators celebrating the 35th Bath Half Marathon.
From first-time runners raising money for charity to elite athletes aiming for a PB on the fast and flat course, the city was brimming with expectation and excitement as the Vitality Bath Half Marathon got under way.
A fine and sunny morning with a temperature of 9ºc provided perfect running conditions for what is one of the most popular road racing events in the UK.
The two-lap 13.1 mile course started and finished in Great Pulteney Street and straddles both sides of the River Avon, which makes it a great event for spectators and supporters who were cheering on the runners whilst enjoying the carnival atmosphere around the course.
The Vitality Bath Half Marathon was started at 11am by Sharron Davies MBE, before David Trick, Stuart Hooper and Maximus sent the Family Fun Runners on their way at 11.20am.
It was a day of records and achievements, a fitting celebration of the race’s 35th anniversary.
The men’s title was claimed by Robert Mbithi of Run-Fast who completed the 13.1 mile course in a time of 1:01:45 in an exceptionally brave display of front running, smashing the 62 minute mark and breaking Edwin Kiptoo’s previous course record of 1:02:01 set in 2012.
Jonny Hay of Aldershot, Farnham & District AC claimed 2nd place in 1:04:53 in a thrilling sprint finish to beat Kenyan runner Gideon Kimosop into 3rd place by 2 seconds.
Lenah Jerotich of Run-Fast dominated the women’s field and won the title after crossing the finish line in a time of 1:12:24. Tracy Barlow of Thames Valley Harriers secured 2nd place in 1:14:25, ahead of Hayley Munn of Winchester & District AC who finished in 1:16:46.
Marin Rees of Les Croupiers RC ran the fastest ever half marathon for a 63-year-old and claimed the world record in the Vet Men 60+ age category after completing the Vitality Bath Half Marathon in 1:13:50.
Some well-known faces could be spotted in the running crowd and celebrity runners included Russell Howard, Will Thorp, Rob Deering, Paul Tonkinson, Greg James, Lewis Moody, Sophie Raworth, Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Chrissie Wellington OBE.
The Family Fun Run saw 1,200 runners of all ages and abilities set off on the ¾ mile course in aid of Bath Rugby Foundation.
Fourteen-year-old Max Davis managed to defend his Family Fun Run title after crossing the finish line of the Family Fun Run in a time of 0:04:36.
Race Director Andrew Taylor from Running High Events said: “We are absolutely delighted with the turnout for this year’s event, which has been another fantastic year for the Vitality Bath Half Marathon with some record-breaking performances including a new men’s course record.
“This year has seen our highest number of official charities, and we are hoping to have raised well over our previous £2.1 million record in fundraising which is a magnificent achievement.
“Congratulation to the winners, and to every single runner who crossed the finish line.
“We would like the thank the runners for choosing to run in Bath, the spectators for their immense support, and of course the 850 local volunteers, our contractors and partners who worked so hard to make the event flow so seamlessly.
“A big thank you also goes to all the bands who gave their time for free to support the event, and to all the venues who generously donated use of their premises.
“It has been another special and inspiring year for the Bath Half, and a wonderful celebration of its 35th birthday.”