There was a right old burn up on the Southend Promenade on a hot Sunday morning (9 June) as 2,000 runners slapped on the sun cream and the top five men finished within 30 seconds at the 24th Havens Hospice Southend Half Marathon.
James Caldon (Benfleet RC, 1:15:30) turned up the wick at the front to burn off determined opposition for the top spot. He was a relatively comfortable 25 seconds clear of the chasing pack and after that brief period of calm the race officials were really kept on their toes!
In the space of the next three seconds, four testosterone fuelled men barrelled across the finish line. Ben Green (Benfleet, 1:15:55 PB) was clear in second and M45 Christian Holmes (Southend, PB) was judged to be third as he shared 1:15:57 gun times with Tyrone Farrer (M45, Hunts AC) and Dan Slayford (University of Portsmouth). Fractions on chip times were required to separate the positions in the best finish to Southend Half Marathon anyone could remember.
Four women finished among the top 75 athletes inside 90 minutes. The top three were also masters in a sign of the times. W45 Sara Black (London Heathside, 1:26:59 PB) used her experience to take top spot from Liz Wynn (W40 Serpentine, 1:28:02), Vicky McElligott (W35 Leigh on Sea Striders, 1:29:22) and Hayley Lamkin (Southend, 1:29:49 PB).
There were 1,940 classified finishers in 3:24:07 and Stuart Valentine was the 1,000th runner to arrive back at East Beach, Shoeburyness in 2:05:13.
There was also a 3K Fun Run, won by Isabel Tracy of Southend AC, in a bid to raise £100,000 for the Havens Hospice charity which cares for seriously ill children, young people and adults in the home, in the community and at its two hospices Little Havens and Fair Havens.
Jane Hopkins, events fundraiser at Havens Hospices, said, “The day couldn’t have gone any better and it was great to see so many local people not only taking part but lining the route to cheer runners on. Every runner who has trained for this event and crossed that start line has helped our hospices to continue caring for local adults, children and families when they need it most and with their help we are well on our way to our £100,000 fundraising target.”
Image courtesy Andy Kenyon Photography/Southend Half Marathon on Twitter