Olympic Gold Medalist and Sussex resident Sally Gunnell OBE sounded the starting klaxon to send over 8,000 runners on their way for the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon 2016 last Sunday.
The former Olympic hurdler cheered on runners as they passed the start line, wishing them well for their 13.1 mile journey around the city.
Runners were cheered along the route by hundreds of spectators, bands, choirs and stilt walkers, plus a community stage provided by The Grand Brighton.
Now in its 26th year, the is organised by The Sussex Beacon, a Brighton-based charity which provides a range of services for men, women and families living with or affected by HIV across Sussex.
The 2016 race field was the largest in the event’s history, with many local, national and international runners appearing.
Leigh Lattimore, a seasoned 5,000m and 10,000m XC runner, won the women’s elite race in her first half marathon with a time of 1:15:52, breaking the course record by over two minutes. Sarah Hill came second with a time of 01:18:22
Paul Martelletti won the men’s elite race, taking home his fourth successive title and once again breaking the course record with a time of 01:04:53. Christopher Zablocki took second place in a time of 1:08:20.
Alongside the field of elite runners, thousands of charity runners took to the streets, raising vital funds for over 50 charities, including local charities Chestnut Tree House, RISE, The Sussex Beacon and national charities including Laureus, WaterAid and Scope.
Celebrity runners in the race included Norman Cook running for Young Epilepsy and the comedian Joe Wilkinson, running for Amaze. Local ‘hat challenge’ runner Sara Cutting, who won a Point of Light award from the Prime Minister in January for her fundraising achievements, also took to the course, fundraising for Macmillan.
The race started in 1990 as a small event involving around 200 runners from local athletic clubs and has become an established national event for those training for a Spring marathon.
Simon Dowe, CEO of The Sussex Beacon, said: “As the organisers of the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon, The Sussex Beacon are very proud to be associated with one of the best running events in the UK. The funds raised by this event enable us to deliver our essential services to people living with HIV, but more than this it is a vehicle for so many other charities local, national and international to help continue their amazing work.”
Neville Koopowitz, CEO of Vitality, commented: “Congratulations to everyone who participated in yesterday’s Vitality Brighton Half Marathon. We were delighted to see so many runners take part and we look forward to our next events – the Vitality Liverpool and Vitality Bath Half Marathons on Sunday, March 13.”
Charity partners for the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon 2016 included WaterAid Scope, RISE and Chestnut Tree House. Runners could also pledge to run on behalf of The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, the official charity partner to the Vitality Run Series.
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