Strike a light! Bedford Running Festival shines...
More than 5,000 runners brought Bedford into the limelight on a three day activity weekend. A packed schedule started on Friday (30 August) with street food, an open air cinema and yoga classes and concluded on Sunday with 2,517 finishers at Bedford Half Marathon.
Friday afternoon saw the event village in Priory Country Park open for race pack collections and the start of a family friendly programme, with Mary Poppins Returns and Captain Marvel on at the open air cinema.
Racing commenced with the Bedford 5K on Saturday morning, followed by a series of mini-mile races for the kids. The 5K winners were M40 Charlie Palmer (Beds & County, 17:27) and W35 Nese Davis (Couch to 5K, 21:20) – the latter clearly graduating with honours!
The Kids Club was in full swing and Dumbo showing at the open air cinema as yoga for runners was well attended before the warm up for Bedford Twilight 10K, starting at 5:30pm. Top finishers Andrew Headley (Bedford & County, 34:41) and Charlotte East (Cambridge & Coleridge, 40:30) had to wait a while to see the sunset around 7:50pm to the chilled music of Late Night Honeymoon and Moby Slick.
Sunday morning was dominated by Bedford Half Marathon, starting at 9:00am with musical accompaniment. Ash Harrell (Norwich, 1:09:32), Michael Waddington (Ware Joggers, 1:11:17) and Alex Metcalfe (Ely, 1:13:14) were the top three men. Emma Hodson (Cambridge Uni, 1:20:32), Helen Bleeze (1:23:10) and Armana Rai (1:24:17) led the women home.
Sunday's entertainment included live music from Little Chino, more yoga classes and ended with a screening of The Greatest Showman. Race director Mark Draper certainly knows how to put on a show for runners, so this was a fitting finale.
This is one event that your correspondent has earmarked for a future visit. If you are also interested, here is a link to this year's comprehensive race guide – possibly one of the best we have ever seen.
Full results available via runABC South race listing here
Images courtesy Bedford Running Festival