Gallery: Half marathon is biggest and best so far
- Credit: Archant
The largest-ever St Albans Half Marathon on Sunday saw over 6,200 people take part in four different events and raise a huge amount of money for charity.
Now in its 33rd year, the half marathon itself sold out for the second year in succession with over 3,500 entrants taking part.
Numbers were also up for both the 5K and walking half marathon events while numerous youngsters took part in the children’s fun run.
Among those who ran the half marathon were the family and friends of three-year-old Oliver Marchant of St Albans who is suffering from neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer, and has has been supported at Keech Hospice Care throughout his treatment.
Team Marchant, which has so far managed to raise £2,500 for Keech and the Neuroblastoma Society, consisted of Oliver’s dad Matthew Marchant together with Nick Hull, Vicki Hull, Lynsey Ford, Carly Mitchell, Rich Thrift and Marije Ploemacher who all ran the 13 miles around St. Albans.
Oliver was diagnosed with Horner’s Syndrome in his left eye when he was just a year old and after 12 months of scans and further investigations Oliver received a diagnosis of neuroblastoma in April 2013.
He underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, an operation to remove the tumour, radiotherapy and six cycles of an oral chemotherapy drug.
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Mum Tiggy said: “During the awful months of chemotherapy when Oliver was getting very sick and extremely unsettled, he only wanted me and I was struggling to keep him contented.
“Our oncologist advised us to get support from our local hospice so we were referred to Keech.
“Keech has been absolutely wonderful to Oliver and our family, allowing some respite for me and providing Oliver with a programme to help him with the transition from having received full-time medical treatment for the past seven months back to more normal daily life such as playgroups, nursery and most importantly mixing with children away from me.”
Team Marchant will be back in action in December with a gala concert which they are hoping will push the fundraising for the hospice and the Neuroblastoma Society up to £10,000.”
Tiggy added: “Oliver has been so resilient throughout his gruelling treatment and we have been so proud of how our little son has been kicking cancer’s butt!
“Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us so far; we have been so touched by all the support we have received for Oliver and our two wonderful charities.”
All four events in the half marathon started and finished in Verulamium Park and were run on behalf of the district council by I Life. Mayor, Cllr Annie Brewster, got the event underway and said: “This year, the support out on the course was greater than ever.
“St Albans really got behind all the competitors. It was wonderful to see everyone having such a good time while raising a stunning amount of money for charity.”
Winner of the men’s race in 71 mins was Julian Lings who said “It was a cracking course, so varied and so challenging. It was also very well marshalled and was exactly how a race should be organised.”
Race director Mark Caldwell added: “In very tough conditions, everyone who took part should be very proud of their achievement in completing their chosen event.
“I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who assisted in making the 33rd year the biggest and best yet, and who helped raise lots of money for a number of local charities.”
St Albans Striders - The huge contingent of Striders competing was led in by Blake Vivian (1:17), fourth overall; Ben Walsh (1:23), 18th; Mark Castleton (1:24), 19th; Nairn McWilliams (1:25), 22nd; Joe Dunn (1:25), 23rd; Anna Ward (1:32), 75th, fifth female and second Vet 35; Liz McKie (1:34), 108th, first Vet 45; Wendy Walsh (1:33), 117th, third Vet 35.
Harpenden Arrows - Andy Jordon (1:25:24), second overall; Ammon Piepgrass (1:26); David Moritz (1:29); Justin Busby (1:29); Ed Rhodes (1:32); Steve Bowran (1:34); Andrew Cripps (1:39); Laura Hicks (1:45); Philippa O’Donovan (1:50); Emily Hooper (1:51); Graham Harper (1:57).