'BATHALF' dominates weekend events
It's officially spring and we have reached a hive of half marathon activity with 13.1 mile races scheduled at Windsor, Hampton Court, Victoria Park, Croydon, Dartford, Brentwood, Milton Keynes, Falmouth and Fleet this weekend. However, the biggest one is the one that has the most difficulty with spelling its name correctly...!
Bath Half Marathon or 'BATHALF' returns on Sunday (15 March) with another sellout field of 16,500 entries and around 150 charities represented. Last year there were 11,348 finishers in 4:17:51.
'The Beast from the East' forced a rare cancellation in 2018 but last year's 38th race was a huge success with an estimated 40,000 spectators on a bright, dry morning. The race winners were both Olympians: Chris Thompson (Aldershot, 1:03:09) and local star Kate Reed (Bristol and West, 1:12:44).
The eye wateringly fast course records are held by Robert Mbithi (1:01:45) from 2016 and Liz Yelling (1:09:27) which has survived all assaults since 2007. No wonder so many of our top club runners return to Bath every year with PB ambitions.
The course is flat and fast; surprisingly fast considering the steep-sided River Avon valley the World Heritage City of Bath nestles in. The route straddles both sides of the Avon and threads through the historic city on traffic-free roads. The start/finish is on the impressive Great Pulteney Street – one of the widest Georgian boulevards in Europe, with a span of 46 feet.
Charity is at the heart of this community event and more than £25 million has been raised for at least 500 causes in recent years. Many high profile public figures take part and this year TV and radio presenter Dermot O'Leary returns to run for Team Boobs to raise awareness and funds for the Coppafeel! charity he has been patron for more than 10 years.
As well as the main event for the elite, club and charity runners there is a hotly contested Corporate Challenge for businesses and a Family Fun Run that has more than 1,000 finishers. The headline sponsor this year is once again Bishop Fleming Chartered Accountants.
Look out for our race report next week in runABC South news here
Image courtesy Bath Half Marathon