There was a storming finish on an overcast and blustery day at the 27th Vitality Brighton Half Marathon on Sunday (26 February) as Jonathan Tipper, from Kent AC, caught the leading pack in the final straight on Madeira Drive to snatch victory in 1:08:37. However, Eleanor Davis of Newquay Road Runners stole the show, taking home a new course record of 1:14:26.
Tipper Tops Brighton Half
The large crowd of supporters cheered the elite race as four men entered the final half mile seconds apart and all finished inside 69 minutes. The final sprint of Jonathan Tipper, who ran 2:31:39 in last year's Virgin London Marathon, took the inexperienced Kent AC man to his first major title ahead of 8,050 finishers.
Tipper's last gasp victims were Stuart Hawkes (Tipton Harriers, 1:08:43), Neil Boniface (Horsham Joggers, 1:08:55) and Blair McWhirter (Ilford, 1:08:58), who all have superior credentials to the winner.
Course record holder and four-times winner Paul Martelletti missed the race with a last minute injury and local favourite Kevin Rojas, another regular on the podium in recent years, also had to withdraw his entry to leave a more open race than expected.
Eleanor Davis (Newquay, 1:14:26) hacked more than a minute off her previous best and won the women's race by the proverbial mile from highly respectable performances by Emily Proto (Arena 80, 1:21:27) and Sarah Hill (Farnham Runners, 1:21:32).
Brand-new for 2017, this year’s event included a Wheelchair Race, with eight entrants from around the UK. Rob Smith took first place in the inaugural men’s race, in a time of 1:14:23, while Yasmin Somers came first in the women’s race in a time of 1:49:05.
Celebrity DJ and Brighton resident Norman Cook - better known as Fatboy Slim – was the official race starter and then joined the throng to finish 2,245th in 1:49:22, helping raise funds for the charity Young Epilepsy.
Full race information and results are on the Brighton Half website or via these links on Facebook and Twitter