London Marathon runners saved by kayak after Alban Way flooding
- Credit: Archant
London Marathon runners found themselves having to be rescued by boat after floodwater blocked the Alban Way on Sunday.
Local celebrity Mike Izzard was on hand to help stranded runners cross the 300yrd stretch of water near the old Smallford station.
The postie, who hails from Hatfield, went down to Alban Way to take photographs of the floodwater for a charity calendar, but ended up rescuing marathon participants with his kayak, with the help of his trusty four-legged friend Baz.
Mike, who’s known locally as the station master of Nast Hyde Halt after fundraising and subsequently restoring it, said: “[The runners] came down and had the shock of their lives when they had this ocean in front of them.
“Luckily for those who arrived when I was on the scene, they were offered a very nice and comfortable and free ride on the back of my kayak. A lot of them found it very, very amusing!
“A lot of them had covered quite a lot of miles at that stage, and some of them had still quite some distance still to run, so the idea of taking what could possibly be quite a lengthy detour was not something they were in favour of. The idea of trying to wade through it, coming out the other end with absolutely soaking wet feet, which would’ve really hindered their onward journey wasn’t something they were overly keen on, either.”
After giving a few passers by a helping hand, Mike came back to find a queue of people waiting for his aid. He helped around 30 people on Sunday, including marathon runners, dog walkers and people with push bikes.
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“It was one and a half foot deep at the deepest part, so it was quite substantial. I’ve been going along there for over 10 years now and never seen it quite so bad, it was really dangerous. Luckily, I was there at the right time for a lot of people.”
The flooding of Alban Way, a disused railway thoroughfare that once linked St Albans and Hatfield, is attributed to an overwhelmed soakaway drain.
Mike has spent this year raising money for Dementia UK, amassing over £3,500 so far. Next month he’ll focus his fundraising on selling calendars, with all profits going to the charity. He was down by the floodwater on Sunday to take pictures for the calendar.
He said: “It was kind of a publicity stunt on my behalf, but once all the photos were done, it was all hands on deck to help out the runners.
“It was great and all well received. The people said this is one marathon they’ll never forget with the boat trips thrown in; it was lovely!”