Simplyhealth Great East Run takes place on Sunday 20 September 2020. To secure your place on the start line and benefit from the early bird offer, visit www.greatrun.org/East

FOUR THOUSAND runners of all ages and abilities took on the challenge of a half marathon as the third staging of the Simplyhealth Great East Run turned Ipswich into a festival of running this weekend.

Record entries saw the popular 13.1-mile event sell out for a third consecutive year, and organisers have urged runners to take advantage of the early bird discount, with entries for 2020's event already on sale.

Participants took on a scenic tour of the Suffolk countryside in beautiful conditions, starting in Ipswich town centre, heading towards the waterfront and out towards Freston, passing under the Orwell Bridge and returning to the town, with the finish line in the grounds of Ipswich Town FC's Portman Road stadium.

Ipswich Town FC manager Paul Lambert was honorary starter of the event, alongside Councillor James Reeder – Suffolk County Council Cabinet Lead Public Health & Prevention, Councillor Jan Parry - Mayor of Ipswich, and Councillor Graham Newman – Suffolk County Council Deputy Chairman.

The event was staged in partnership with Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich Jaffa Running Club.

Great Britain international runner Chris Thompson took the overall victory, crossing the line in 66.43. Framlingham's Andrew Rooke was second in 69.39, with Danny Rock, running for Felixstowe RRC, third in 70.22.

Lauren Deadman was the first woman across the line in 79.03, with Aylesbury's Sophie Delderfield second in 82.21 and Alice Heather-Hayes third in 87.40.

A total of 31 runners completed their first ever half marathon as part of the Simplyhealth Great East Run Outreach Programme.

The transformative initiative was part of Suffolk County Council's quest to become the most active county in England and has been successfully carried out at previous events in 2017 and 2018.

James Reeder, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Lead for Public Health and Prevention said: "Its inspiring to see the wide range of people taking part in today's Great East Run and achieving their own personal goals.

“I would like to personally congratulate all that took part and helping Suffolk to become the most active county in England"

Kate Thornton, Chief Customer Officer of title partners Simplyhealth, said: “The Simplyhealth Great East Run has been an amazing event!  It was truly inspiring to see so many runners of all ages and abilities taking on their own personal challenge.

“We're proud to be supporting people every step of the way to help them maintain better health through being more active.”

Councillor Sarah Barber, Ipswich Borough Council's Town Centre portfolio-holder said: “This year's event was another huge success and it was wonderful to see the people of Ipswich, and beyond, turn out to cheer on the runners and make the day a memorable one.

“I would like to thank all the staff and volunteers for the hard work they put in and congratulate the runners on their fantastic achievements.”

Simplyhealth Great East Run takes place on Sunday 20 September 2020. To secure your place on the start line and benefit from the early bird offer, visit www.greatrun.org/East