There were more than 3,000 runners and walkers in action at St Albans Half Marathon on Sunday (9 June) with top honours in the flagship event going to the home crowd's favourite Paul Adams (St Albans Striders - pictured) and W35 Rachel Felton (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers).
Verulamium Park provided an historic and spectacular backdrop for the start and finish of this traditional community event, which started 38 years ago as an instant hit with 1,300 runners helping to raise funds for the local hospital scanner appeal. Charity has remained at the core of the event and since 1982 more than 80 national and local causes have benefited from almost £1million raised by competitors over the years.
The course was tweaked in 2013 to iron out a few hills and avoid the central shopping centre and it now follows a southerly route on pleasant lanes towards Bedmond in the Three Rivers District of Hertfordshire.
Good conditions boosted times as nearly 100 athletes beat 90 minutes and more than half the 2,000 starters were back at Verulamium Park within two hours. Fastest of all was St Albans Strider's Paul Adams (1:13:27) followed by Sam Dykes (Warrington, 1:14:03) and Luke Delderfield (Tring, 1:15:02).
The leading lady was Shaftesbury's Rachel Felton (1:19:49) – a superb seventh overall and runner-up in half marathons at Bath and Weston-Super-Mare already this year. W50 Philippa Taylor (Helpston Harriers, 1:26:46) and Jill Horan (1:28:12) completed the women's podium.
The supporting 5K race was won by St Albans AC prospects James Moore (under-17, 17:46) and Lily Tse (under-15, 19:37) and the briskest walkers in the separate walking half marathon were all females: Paula Fairlamb (2:31:35), Juliet Allport (2:34:54) and Clair Drage (2:35:52) – impressive yomping ladies!
St Albans Half Marathon is known as the 'ice lolly run' for good reason. All participants are rewarded with the frozen treats as well as the usual T-shirt, medal and water at the finish.