Thousands take part in biggest ever Birmingham Half Marathon
The sun was shining on Birmingham as about 11,500 people took to the streets on Sunday for the city’s half marathon.
Runners broke personal bests and raised thousands for charity in what was the biggest event of its kind yet.
Organisers hailed the event as a major success - but conceded a number of runners aiming for the two-hour mark were halted close to the finish line due to medical incidents which “had to be dealt with quickly”.
But St John Ambulance said throughout the race 75 people needed treatment for minor injuries only, which included exhaustion sprains and strains.
Talk of the finish line though was Paul Thompson, from Solihull, who came sixth at 1 hour 7 mins 51 secs in his first half marathon.
The 18-year-old tourism student, who runs for the Birmingham Running and Triathlon Club, said he shocked himself after he decided to “give it a shot”.
“I was even getting support from athletes running past me. It’s just great to know people know you are from Birmingham,” he said.
“I was targeting about 70 to 75 minutes but it’s just fantastic to pull off this time – I’m shocked myself. I knew I was good on the road but I never thought I was this good.”
Mr Thompson said he ran in memory of his schoolfriend 19-year-old James Tierney, from Weoley Castle, who was killed in a road accident last week and said of him “he was a great guy”.
The modest college student was only moments behind winner 19-year-old Kenyan Edwin Kipyego who crossed the finish line in 1 hour 3 mins 50 secs.
Keeping warm in a bin liner before the race was retired Dave Onion, aged 70, from Nottingham, who didn’t take up running until the tender age of 58.
He hoped to finish in 1 hour 55 mins and told how he has already run 25 half marathons this year.
“I tell people if I can do it so can they, it gets you fit,” he said. “I’d never been to a gym since I left school then I started off with five-milers or 10ks.
“Now I love it. It’s just the atmosphere, you meet people from all over the world, not just the UK.”
Taking third place in the race was Philip Nicholls, a PE teacher at the Coseley School in Bilston, who completed the course in an impressive 1 hour 4 mins 57 secs.
The 27-year-old Tipton Harrier, who has been running since he was seven years old, said: “Crossing the finish line felt really good, in fact the whole race was amazing.
“I was on my own for quite a while but when I got to Bournville there were lots of people cheering me on so that really lifted me.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to do a race in Birmingham, and the support from all of the people when I was coming down Broad Street towards the finish line really spurred me on.”
The fastest woman for a second year running was Susan Partridge who came in at 1 hour 13 mins and 56 secs.
Posing for family photos at the finish line was Neil Caldicott, from the Jewellery Quarter, who was cheered on by girlfriend Laura Brakewell and mum Julie Caldicott.
The 26-year-old said: “I’m quite sporty but this was my first half marathon and the final three-and-a-half miles were pretty tough.
“I did it in one hour 47 minutes, so I’m pleased as I wanted to do it in under one hour 50 minutes. I’m going to celebrate with a roast dinner now.”
Crossing the finish line together were friends and fellow University of Birmingham students Hannah Brown and Hannah Koole.
Hannah Brown said: “We are hoping to raise £600 for the Teenage Cancer Trust because the brother of a good friend of ours was diagnosed last year, so we wanted to do it for them.
“It wasn’t easy, but the atmosphere was really good and that really helped us.”
Hannah Koole said: “The weather was perfect for running and I think it has been really well organised. We’ve got loads of friends who have come out to support us and some of my family have come from Gloucestershire too.”