More than 2,000 runners contested the Havens Hospice Southend Half Marathon on Sunday (10 June) with victories in the main event going to Phil Dickens (Cambridge Harriers) and Lithuanian athlete Ginte Bailey (Havering AC).
Southend has established itself as one of the largest and most prestigious races in the Essex calendar and Sunday's event was an impressive 23rd iteration of the annual charity fundraiser. Runners enjoyed the 13.1 route along Southend’s classic coastline, starting at Shoeburyness East Beach.
Dickens' winning margin in the men's race was 32 seconds as he stopped the watch on 1:13:57, followed by M40 Tyrone Farrer (Huntingdonshire AC, 1:14:29 PB) and Liviu Ionita (Barking Road Runners, 1:14:38 PB) – the latter beating his best by four seconds! Ginte Bailey (1:26:52) was another in personal best form and she was joined inside the 90 minute threshold by Vicky McElligott (Leigh on Sea Striders, 1:28:02) and Robyn Matson (Havering AC, 1:29:53).
There was also a 3K Family Fun Run 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 hospices Little Havens and Fair Havens. Taking part in the Fun Run was George Palmer. George’s dad, Nick, died shortly after completing Southend Half Marathon in 2014, aged 37.
George, 10, from Great Wakering said: “It was an exhausting run but great fun. I wanted to take part in memory of my dad but to also have fun with my friends.” George’s mum, Anne Frewin, 38, added: “George’s friends from Leigh Ramblers also took part and were raising money for The Finish Line Fund which was set up in Nick’s memory. We’re so pleased that people are continuing to support us and the fund.”
A few people chose to tackle the course in fancy dress. Peter Redwood-Smith from Rayleigh wore a panda outfit. The 23-year-old is running 52 races in 52 weeks – this was number 30 and he said: “I ran my first ever race in October last year, which was such an amazing experience it inspired me to do more. I started my challenge in November and am planning races across the UK and Europe. So far I’ve raised over £4,000 for good causes.”
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.”
Results and race information are available at runABC South race listings