The British Association of Road Races (BARR) Gold Standard awarded Mercer Surrey Half Marathon returned to Woking Leisure Centre on Sunday (10 March) for the sixth time with 3,541 finishers inside 3:20 and overall wins for Paul Pollock (Kent AC, 1:06:24) and Emma Davis (Ireland, 1:20:09).
Racing commenced with 376 finishers in the supporting 5K (pictured) won by Guildford and Godalming AC junior Raphael Rivero (17:38) and Woking AC's Katie Hopkins (18:54). All the participants were able to experience the closed road atmosphere of the main race and the free Mercer Surrey Half Marathon headwraps were a useful defence against the strong winds and later hailstones.
Paul Pollock was made to work hard for his victory in the Mercer Surrey Half Marathon, held on a single loop course on traffic-free, well-surfaced roads from central Woking into the surrounding countryside. Pollock finished 30 seconds clear of Abdulaziz Mahamedsalih Ebrahim (1:06:54) from Norwegian club Strindheim Friidrett. Andy Coley-Maud (Clapham Chasers, 1:07:12) was a close third.
Emma Davis had a similar fight on her hands before securing the women's prize. W40 Lesley Locks (1:20:30) and W35 Lucie Custance (1:21:38) kept the 2:50:44 marathoner from Ireland honest throughout.
The picturesque Surrey event is made more enjoyable by performances from local bands and the many cheering spectators on the route. Lexus Guildford provided the lead car as a team of Woking CC cyclists and Xempo pacers led thousands of runners onto the course.
There was an unofficial Guinness World Record for completing a half marathon while pushing a wheelchair by Richard Moffatt and Evie Read (1:32:54), raising funds in aid of Action for A-T (Ataxia-telangiectasia). The current official record is 1:35:06, so good luck to Richard and Evie.
Morrisons Solicitors sponsored the Corporate Challenge, won for a third year by headline sponsors Mercer's team of John Martin, Stuart Stevens and Paul Andrews in 4:30:59.
Hundreds of children also took part in a 2km race sponsored by Greenfield School and the community atmosphere was exemplified by local fruit man Boz who provided thousands of oranges for the competitors.