Despite immense competition from huge events in London and Bath the 'UK's best road race' according to the Racecheck 2016 awards continues to punch well above its weight. The 2017 edition of Mercer Surrey Half Marathon on Sunday (12 March) can only further enhance its reputation as 3,669 happy runners finished inside 3 hours 36 minutes at Woking Leisure Centre.
Top prizes went to Lithuanian runner Andrius Jaksevicius (Belgrave Harriers, 1:09:50) and elite triathlete Helena Eastham (Ravens London, 1:22:24). Both winners set impressive new personal bests. Stephen Blake (Woking, 1:10:12) was a popular local runner-up in the men's race, almost a minute clear of Simon Goldsworthy (Guildford & Godalming, 1:11:03).
The women's race was more clear cut with Eastham nearly 30 seconds clear at 10k (39:03) before stretching the gap to 76 seconds over Tamsin Lewis (Poole, 1:23:40), with Gibraltarian W40 athlete Emma Montiel (Portsmouth, 1:24:28) third.
The wet conditions did little to dampen the enthusiasm of either runners or spectators around the attractive 13.1 mile route that leaves Woking Park to pass through Sutton Green, Jacobs Well and Worplesdon, before the final sprint back into Woking Park. The race again featured the experienced Xempo Pacing Team with pacers available from 1:30 to 2:30 timings and seven interim paces.
One man concerned about his pace was Tony 'the Fridge' Morrison, who broke the world record for half marathon while carrying a fridge on his back (2:23:35). Tony is an ultra-running phenomenon who has run the length of Britain in 40 days; completed 30 Great North Runs in 30 days; run 67 miles in 24 hours and 44 miles in 12 hours on a treadmill - all while strapped to his trusty 1950s style Smeg fridge! This ultra-cool Geordie raises funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and other charities close to his obviously enormous heart.
Mick Barlow from the British Association of Road Races attended the race and extended his congratulations to the organisers as he awarded the event with BARR’s Gold Standard Race Grade for: “it’s exceptionally high standard of race organisation and commitment to runners.”
Full results and information on the Mercer Surrey Half Marathon
website. Next year's event is scheduled for Sunday, 11 March, 2018 and early bird entries are now available.