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Record attendance and high spirits at marathon

PUBLISHED: 12:59 04 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:59 04 March 2014

Race start

Race start

Matt Cardy

More than 12,000 runners and 30,000 spectators confounded the cold and drizzly weather to fill and line the streets with record attendances at the 2014 Bath Half Marathon, now in its 33rd year.

Lewis Moody post raceLewis Moody post race

Despite the weather, runners pounded the streets of Bath for a multitude of different reasons, from those striving to achieve a personal or charity challenge, to elite athletes aiming for a new course record and world record attempts, the streets were filled with ambition.

The Kenyans stole the show in the elite field, taking first and second place in both the male and female categories. Nicholas Kirui of Kenya took the top spot, after breaking away from his running partner, Boniface Kongin, also of Kenya, around 5km before the finish.

Perendis Lekapana of Kenya finished first in the female race, five minutes clear of the second female, Gladys Kwambai, who came second. Perendis shaved more than two minutes off her personal best.

The first British female to cross the line was local girl, Lucy Macalister, who runs with Bristol & West AC, and lives near Wellington.

She said: “I was really comfortable for the first six miles, but I found the last seven miles more tricky, which has a lot to do with the weather. I ran my personal best here in 2011, and I’m happy to be the first female Brit to cross the line.”

Former Coronation Street and Casualty actor, Will Thorp, from Frome, was also amongst the starting line up, running for Somerset based charity, Time is Precious.

He said: “This is my first organised race and I was really pleased I took part – what a great event. It was tough, but it was great to be a part of such a positive race. The crowds were brilliant and made a massive difference. I also loved the entertainment around the course, particularly the beating drums which really helped me to pick my pace up.”

David Flatman was not only the official race starter, but he also ran the 13.1 mile race after encouraging thousands of runners to give it their all on the stage at the start line. David ran for the Down’s Syndrome Association, finishing in two hours, 44 minutes and 14 seconds, and has already raised almost £8,500 for the cause.

Ashley James from Made in Chelsea ran for 2014 Lead Race Charity, CoppaFeel! amongst 180 Hooters all wearing giant boob costumes. After finishing together, Kye commented: “It’s been a really amazing and emotional experience. The support was fantastic and as a man, it was great to run surrounded by lots of giant CoppaFeel! boobs. I’m a big fan of the two lap course, as you really get to take in the atmosphere of the event and the beautiful city that is Bath”.

Despite the cold, wet and windy conditions, spirits were high and the charity runners in fancy dress were out in force. The BATHALF is the biggest single day fundraising event in the South West, with this year’s event expected to raise more than £2million.

This year, runners from across the UK raced to raise money for 90 different official charities and the Bath Half Marathon Fund, which helps raise money for local community projects in and around the City.

Almost 1,000 people took part in the 1.5 mile Family Fun Run, raising money for Send a Cow. The event was a complete sell-out, with entries closing in January this year. First to finish was Dillon Dykes.

Entries for the 2015 BATHALF will open in the next few days. For more information, go to bathhalf.co.uk.

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