10:29AM, Tuesday 05 November 2019
Thousands of runners took to Marlow Bridge on Sunday for the 31st Marlow Half Marathon and associated events.
Organised by running club Marlow Striders, the event has become one asterisked on the town calendar and also featured a seven-mile race and a Kid’s Kilometre for youngsters.
With 1,600 people competing in the two main races combined – and a record number of entrants in the Marlow 7 – running fever proved to be a big hit in the town once more.
A total of 75 budding young runners competed in the Kid’s Kilometre in Higginson Park.
This year, a rock choir situated outside the Royal Oak in Bovingdon Green gave competitors some motivation.
Race director Mike Thompson outlined the two reasons why people keep coming back to the event year after year.
“In terms of a half-marathon, we have got four large hills on the course and many find them challenging, and they come back for the challenge,” he said.
“It is not a simple, flat course - you have got a variety.
“[And] the route itself is beautiful. We start on the iconic Marlow Bridge, go up the high street, towards Bovingdon Green and Hambledon Valley, and then back to the finish.”
He added: “People enjoy running, but they really enjoy running when there is a great atmosphere, and that is provided by the local people.
“From what I saw on video, the support from the residents of Marlow was fantastic.
“It is one of the landmark events in Marlow and we want it to remain that way.”
Runners dressed in costume were competing for another accolade – the fancy dress prize.
Mike said: “We awarded it to a gentlemen dressed as a large sun.”
A running club from Handy Cross also competed in the event dressed as nuns.
Next year’s 2020 half marathon could see a few more changes, including an additional multi-terrain course, added Mike.
“We have got a few ideas for what we are going to do for the 2020 event to keep it in the public profile,” he said.
Winners on the day included Stuart Macdougall of Fulham Running Club, who finished first for the men in the Marlow Half with a time of 1:18:08.
For the women, Charlotte Shields of Charnwood Athletic Club finished in a time of 1:32:21.
In the Marlow 7, Nick Buckle of Belgrave Harriers finished in 00:40:02, and Becky Atkinson of Maidenhead Athletic Club in 0:45:38.
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