Run By Runners, For Runners
Fleet Half is back with a revised course but the same gold standard organisation
Technically speaking, all races from now until the fourth Saturday in April occur before the London Marathon, but there is only one 'Pre-London' Fleet Half Marathon – with the prefix personally conferred by the London Marathon founder Chris Brasher CBE.
Fleet Half Marathon started in 1982 – one year after the inaugural London Marathon – and acquired the unofficial 'Pre-London' title after the 1956 Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion was impressed with the superb organisation of this founder member of the British Association of Road Races (BARR) event – still run by runners, for runners, by members of Fleet & Crookham AC to this day.
There were an extraordinary 1,995 finishers in that initial race and 1,477 ran the latest event in March 2022 after two Covid-enforced fallow years of absence. The current champions going into this year's race on Sunday 26 March are Kurt Taylor (Bristol & West AC, 1:06:49) and Jenna McGrevey (Richmond & Zetland AC, 1:18:55) – one of 50 athletes inside 1:20:00 on this fast course from Fleet town centre.
So, what brings thousands of runners back to Fleet every year? The gently undulating but fast course with personal best potential is a big plus, with a spacious Race Village in Calthorpe Park. Spectators enjoy the race atmosphere between two and three miles as the runners charge along Fleet Road, where there are plenty of coffee shops and pubs.
The entire course is traffic-free, with some minor route revisions for 2023 to help with traffic flow around Fleet. There are experienced Pace Makers for 1:30, 1:40, 1:45, 1:50, 2:00, 2:10, and 2:20 finish times and more than 125 cheery marshals will keep runners on course. ChampionChip Timing will give everyone a personal time and the FREE professional race photography will record your special moment.
The medal this year returns to the popular metal design after disappointment with last year's wooden memento. Fleet Half Marathon proudly holds the coveted BARR Gold standard and you can get a feel for last year's atmosphere in this short video...
Entries are still available for £28/£30 according to affiliation status so click on the big red button on the official Fleet Half Marathon website to secure your number now.
Results and previous news items at runABC race listing here.
Image courtesy Fleet Half Marathon Race Director