Despite challenging conditions an estimated 10,000 runners took part in the Simplyhealth Great Bristol Half Marathon today, beating the wind and rain of Storm Bronagh to complete the 13.1-mile course.
Even in wet weather, spectators were out in force to cheer runners on as they set off from the start line on Anchor Road, heading out along the Portway, taking in the sights of Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge before returning to the city centre.
Winner Matt Clowes of Cardiff AAC took first place in 1:05:10, followed by Tom Merson of Exmouth Harriers in 1:09:34 and hard on his tail in 1:09:51 was Matthew Rees, the Swansea Harriers runner who famously assisted a fellow athlete over the line at the 2017 London Marathon.
Wales was also well represented in the women’s race where Clara Evans of Cardiff AAC took first in 1:16:26, Charlie Arnell from Torbay Athletics Club came second in a time of 1:17:28 and Marta Bagnati of Serpentine Running Club was third in 1:18:38.
The club athletes joined a varied field which included the 100-strong team from Empire Fighting Chance, a local charity that works with young men and women in Easton and St Paul. The charity targets the most vulnerable, including those excluded from school, involved in crime and those experiencing mental health issues.
Anna Ross from Empire Fighting Chance said; “We’ve focussed on a 100-day challenge for the Simplyhealth Great Bristol Half Marathon. Asking 100 people to raise £100 by running the event, and in return we offered a 100-day training programme and support.
“Collectively we have raised more than £10,000. This fundraising will make a huge difference to the impact of our work and increase the number of young people we can support across Bristol.”
Also taking part was Rob Camm, the 23-year old completed the course aided by an all-terrain wheelchair he controls with his chin.
Rob from Breadstone in Gloucestershire, suffered life-changing injuries as the result of a car crash, just a week before starting university in 2013. The high-level C3 spinal injury left him tetraplegic, with no movement from the neck down and reliant on the use of a ventilator to breathe.
Rob has dedicated a significant amount of his time to raising tens of thousands for SpecialEffect, a charity that has provided technology and support to help him adjust to life after his accident. He took on the Simplyhealth Great Bristol Half Marathon accompanied by a team of ten, including his dad and staff from the charity.
Helen Dickinson, Chief Strategy Officer at Simplyhealth said, “Well done to everyone who took part in the Simplyhealth Great Bristol Half Marathon today. Whether you ran, jogged or walked, just taking part is a huge achievement in itself. At Simplyhealth we’ve been supporting runners every step of the way, including our massage and stretch zones on site today.
“Congratulations to everyone who achieved something amazing today we’re already looking forward to being back next year.”
The Great Run Company's Andy Graffin said: "It has been a fantastic day at the Simplyhealth Great Bristol Half Marathon. Huge congratulations to everyone that took part today, despite the challenging conditions.”
Entries for the 2019 event are now open, with a £5 discount available for the first 500 entrants. Visit greatrun.org/bristolhalf for more information or to enter now.