More than 600 colourful runners lined up outside the Guildhall to take on the sixth 13-mile Northampton Half Marathon, supported by their friends and family.
The race, which took in some of Northampton’s most beautiful and historic sites on Sunday (September 9), saw 650 racers set off from outside the Old Bank pub at 9.30am before they bypassed Derngate, the Charles Bradlaugh statue, the Racecourse, ‘the dreaded hill through Great Houghton’ before finishing at Delepre Abbey.
Simon Hollis race director was in charge. He said: “It was a fantastic race and judging by the feedback on social media loved by all those who took part.
“We were lucky to have a fantastic team of marshals guiding and cheering the runners on which was mentioned over and over again.
“There is always a level of anticipation before the race starts and with a cool breeze blowing it was hard to get the runners out of the Old Bank Pub where they has come to register for the race. We provided a warm up for the runners from Virgin Active in Collingtree, which added to the fun and took the runners minds off of the challenge that lay ahead.
“So with a count down on the mic they were off down Derngate for an epic 13.1 mile race.”
Leading up to race day Simon spent about eight weeks finalising the details, which included recruiting 80 plus marshals, who are required to control the event, as well as agreeing designs for medals, getting t-shirts sorted, confirming medical cover, buying water and Jelly Babies and organising signage.
“It requires a high level of detail and communication in order to plan for every set up, location and eventuality – then everything can run smoothly – the only thing we can’t plan is the weather.
“The course is mostly road running so not too tricky. There is a section of trail along the old railway line at Great Houghton to add a little variety, this requires some pre-race gardening that is always appreciated by the village residents.
“The thing they hate the most is the hill from Brackmills along Landimore Road up to the Newport Pagnell Road. It’s fairly steep and long and after seven miles of running is not a welcomed sight. They also have to contend with a gentle climb up into Great Houghton but then it’s mostly downhill from there.”
Runner Alison Thompson used to live in Northampton and ran for herself. At the starting line she said: “ The atmosphere here really is quite fun. I live in Colchester now - this is the first time I’ve done this in Northampton. I’m trying to get a personal best and hopefully my brother will be at the end waiting.”
Bernie Lally ran on Sunday with her friend Kath Middleton - it was their fourth half marathon together. Bernie said: “It’s lovely the fact it starts in town and ends at Delepre, a beautiful part of the town. We have done it for the past couple of years and the crowd are always really good.”