The atmosphere was buzzing this morning on Pipers Way, as over 2000 people were preparing for this year’s Swindon Half Marathon.
Heart FM’s Ben Atkinson and Mel Everatt from the station’s weekday breakfast show were on hand by the start/finish line to entertain and keep everyone’s spirits up, as runners lined up ready to start at 10:30am.
After a quick warm up session led by Les Slinn, the klaxon sounded and the runners were off for the 13 mile course. Wheelchair users assisted by teams from Swindon Striders and Team Hope, as well as others, led the way, and the Half Marathon began.
Once everyone has ran into the distance, the participants of the five mile multi terrain event took their places at the start line, this time being given an energetic warm up by students of Bobbi’s School of Dance, before departing up the Pipers Way hill at 10:40am.
Finally, it was the turn of the enthusiastic people taking part in the two mile fun run, to be warmed up by the dance school, and to head on their way.
There were some notable fancy dress outfits, including Spiderman himself, as well as Snow White and her seven dwarfs.
It wasn’t long to wait after the fun runners had departed, before preparations were under way to receive the first returning runners.
Local celebrity Howard Taylor was on hand to give a warm welcome to those crossing the finish line, and the first from all three events to return was Brad Harris (#2385), of team Slinn Allstars from the two-mile fun run, with a time of 12 minutes and 20 seconds. Second for this event was Sam White (#2523), and third was Max Sullivan (#2313).
The first past the post for the five mile multi terrain was Ciaran Hooper (#4057), of Swindon Harriers, with a time of 28 minutes, 22 seconds. Second for this event was Dominic Hodge (#4307), and third place went to Will Crisp (#4139).
First place in the main event however went to Gary O’Brien (#752) of the Swindon Harriers, with a time of 1 hour, 16 minutes, and 22 seconds. Gary explained afterwards (after getting his breath back) that this was his third win at the Swindon Half Marathon, but had entered every year since it first started back in 2004.
It was a first time in this race for Robert Farley (#966) of Bitton Road Runners who came in second with a time of 1 hour, 18 minutes, and 28 seconds. Third place went to Patrick Brown (#693) of East London Runners, with an impressive time of 1 hour, 18 minutes, and 53 seconds.
Everyone completing the events received an official medal, and undoubtedly, a well-deserved sense of achievement.
The event was organised by the charity SEQOL, who provide quality care and support for adults in Swindon and the surrounding area.
Katie Taylor-Neale, Swindon Half Marathon event director for SEQOL Community Foundation, said: “It has been a great day and with other 1,700 people crossing the finish line today Swindon should be proud.
“Everyone at SEQOL Community Foundation is thrilled with how the town has supported us since we took over as lead organisers eight months ago and we couldn’t have made this happen without the overwhelming support of our sponsors, partners and volunteers.”
We at Swindon 24 would like to congratulate everyone that took part today.