London Gatwick is the second busiest passenger airport in Britain and eighth busiest in Europe but the traffic on Sunday (12 May) was generated by 4,000 runners in a holding pattern around the famous airfield before landing at Crawley's Southgate Park.
The second flight of British Airways Run Gatwick saw a big increase in entries in all three events and it was the women who stepped up the pace to set new records in the Run Gatwick Half Marathon.
Lucy Niemz (Notts AC, 1:21:40) led Arena 80 masters Julie Briggs (W50, 1:23:43) and Dani Tarleton (W45, 1:24:14 PB) to overall and age-group records on the traffic-free course through parkland, town and countryside roads surrounding Gatwick Airport. All three were well inside the 1:27:34 inaugural best shared by Hayley Manning (Clapham Chasers) and Amelia Brown (Crawley) last year.
Maxwell Dumbrell (Brighton Phoenix, 1:11:05) earned his wings as he eased away to victory from Andrius Jaksevicius (Belgrave Harriers, 1:11:32) – 22nd in London Marathon in 2:25:01 last month. Matthew Sims (1:13:39) was a couple of minutes in arrears in third place. With the race carrying Sussex County Half Marathon Championship status for the first time the winners of those titles were Julie Briggs and Maxwell Dumbrell.
The race programme included the popular Run Gatwick 5K won by Neil Grigg (Burgess Hill Runners, 16:50) and Kate French (18:01) from nearly 1,000 starters. There was also a Family Run Mile with Rory Beale (Fordyruns, 6:35) and Kirsten Goodbourn (Crawley, 7:15) fastest in a field of nearly 600 runners of all ages.
Awards were presented by British Airways Flying Start charity ambassadors Dina Asher-Smith, Colin Jackson and Helen Skelton and the event village was packed with visitors who enjoyed live music and free kids activities.
All finishers received an aviation-themed medal, technical T-shirt and running snood. There is a terrific Early Bird offer for next year's race on 10 May, 2020 with half marathon tickets at £26. For full details visit British Airways Run Gatwick website here
Image courtesy British Airways Run Gatwick