Ethiopian double at 40th Bath Half
Omar and Gidey set the pace for 7,000 as Bath fills up again
The 40th Bath Half Marathon, first staged in 1982, returned to the Somerset city known for and named after its Roman-built public baths after a two-and-a-half-year absence. Previously held in March, the event has moved to the autumn and the anniversary race was held on Sunday (16th October).
This is a proper big-city event with a history of fast times from elite runners. The organisers used the Covid-enforced break to reconfigure the course, with a larger race venue at Royal Victoria Park, a new start in Queen Square, and a new finish back in Royal Victoria Park.
There were 6,768 finishers this year – a few less than the pre-Covid number in the last race in 2020 – and all were safely home in four and a half hours. The number of finishers may rise as there were a few potential chip time failures among the listed DNFs.
The pace was hot at the front as Kadar Omar (Birchfield Harriers) led through 5K in 15:21; 10K in 30:35 and 15K in 46:11 on his way to a cracking 1:05:03 victory. The Ethiopian had won the Cardiff Half Marathon in March in a PB 1:02:46 and also took the Robin Hood Half (1:05:37) at Nottingham last month. Omar was pushed all the way by Jonathan Cornish (Hercules Wimbledon, 1:05:35) – third here in 2020 – and Freddie Hessian (Notts AC, 1:05:43) as seven men ducked under 68 minutes.
The women's race saw Exmouth Harriers' newest recruit Atsede Gidey (1:11:53) charge past the 10K mark in 33:21 before slowing in the second half for a comfortable three-minute margin of victory. Jessica Craig (Herne Hill Harriers, 1:14:52) and Sophie Wood (Sale Harriers Manchester, 1:15:40) completed the leading trio.
The previous Saturday (8th October) the then unknown Gidey smashed Jo Pavey's Exmouth parkrun record with 16:15. It transpires she is now living in Lympstone and is the fiancée of Exmouth Harriers' stalwart Ethiopian athlete, Berihu Tesfay Hadera – mystery solved!
Andrew Taylor – Race Director, Bath Half Marathon – was clearly delighted with the proceedings: "After all the problems in the last couple of years, we are glad to be back! We’d like to thank our runners, spectators, local community volunteers, medical team, charity partners, and all other staff involved for helping deliver this weekend’s events, and we’re grateful for the continuing support of Bath & North East Somerset Council and other key stakeholders."
Results and previous reports are available at runABC South race listing here
Image courtesy Bath Half Marathon on Facebook