Bath Running Festival on Sunday (28 July) was the culmination of the Beast of Bath Challenge that takes in all the hills of Bath in a three race series. Fortunately for the 500 starters the intense heat of the previous few days had eased to the mid-20s, so this celebration of off-road running could be enjoyed rather than endured.
Bath Running Festival features 5K; 10K; 'Long' Half Marathon and full Marathon races that all take in superb views of the beautiful hills and valleys of Bath, including Sham Castle and the meadows above Bathampton. The longer races include scenic stretches beside the Kennet and Avon Canal and pass through historic Sydney Gardens.
The Roman Fosse Way is a special challenge, along with Solsbury Hill (of Peter Gabriel fame) with extensive views from this famous Iron Age fort.
The course may be spectacular but so are the feed stations (pictured above) with buffets of fresh fruit and tasty treats. Race HQ is based at University of Bath's Sports Training Village and race management is by the experienced Relish Running team.
Marathon winners were Alastair Watson (3:41:05) and Susannah Gill (4:28:15) – ninth overall. The 'long' half marathon was won by Luke Delderfield (1:51:07) and Natalie Kemp (2:27:57) – 15th overall. The times clearly reflected the warm conditions, tough course and extra distance in the stretched half.
Short course victors were Phillip Bernsten (43:18) and Esme Gartside (54:31) in the 10K and Ross Wayne (24:18) and Kiya Dee (23:15) in the 5K – the latter winning outright to embarrass the men.
Paul Day, celebrating his 70th birthday at the event, captured the atmosphere on social media: “Fantastic event, was going for the marathon but the heat and very tough course. I made the cut off but decided the long half was for me as it was my 70th birthday. I believe I am getting sensible. I personally thank the marshals who were the best and so supportive and made my birthday more special.”