Bob Davey (Race Director) announced major safeguards for competitors in the Sportstiks Brentwood Half Marathon on Sunday (15 March). All the official guidelines that were in place at the time were followed and there were additional precautions taken that were appreciated by the 1,682 finishers, to ensure the event could continue with its 39th race.
Brentwood Half Marathon was started in 1980, when runners used to turn up and register on the day to join the race! It has since grown to a capacity of 3,500 including the 500+ fun runners in their own 5K run (pictured above). The event is sponsored by Sportstiks of Brentwood
who provided the essential Pacers (the 2:30 runner missed the photo call below).
Last year's total was 2,350 in the 13.1 miler, which was won by James Connor (Havering, 1:08:35) and Kirsty Fitzgibbon (Basildon, 1:20:49). The reduction this year was entirely due to the coronavirus outbreak and individual's decisions not to run. In common with other race organisers on this difficult weekend a virtual run, either 13.1 miles or 5K, completed before 15 April will be rewarded with one of the cherished wooden race medals.
With no changing facilities; no staffed baggage drop and no post-race gathering for a prize giving ceremony, there was a more spartan feeling to proceedings this year, so to give you a flavour of the true atmosphere at Brentwood Half Marathon and to look forward to better times ahead, we invite you to view the professionally produced 2019 race video here
Despite a few lumps and bumps in the one-lap course through Shenfield, Blackmore and Doddinghurst the leading times were impressive as the athletes arrived back at Becket Keys School, Sawyers Hall Lane, Brentwood.
Paul Whittaker (Thurrock Harriers, 1:07:55) deposed the defending champion and race number one wearing James Connor (Havering AC, 1:09:11). Consistent Brentwood performer Crispian Bloomfield (Billericay Striders, 1:12:48) completed the notional podium.
There were personal bests to celebrate for the top three in the women's race: Alexa Joel (Billericay, 1:20:15) and London Heathside's Catrin Tyler (1:21:22) and Rebecca Pigott (1:22:06).
The race was started by the Mayor of Brentwood, Cllr Keith Parker and local MP Alex Burghart who had this message for everyone involved: “The organisers did a great job in enabling this superb event to go ahead amid the rapidly changing advice over the Covid-19 outbreak. To all those who ran the race yesterday; I hope your muscles are not too sore today. To all those planning to run the virtual race instead; keep safe and make sure your time is logged with the organisers by April 15th”.
Images courtesy Sportstiks Brentwood Half Marathon