Were you among the 1,300 finishers in the Barns Green Half Marathon on Sunday?
More than 1,300 runners finished the 30th Barns Green Half Marathon on Sunday as orgainsers hailed the decision to move the event forward a month as a success.
Recent editions of the race have been hampered by bad weather and last year, a clash with the Great South Run, which affected numbers. So the decision was made to hold the event a month earlier than usual, to aid the ease of parking and boost numbers. Extra features for runners this year included a macrhing band as the ran through the grounds of Christ’s Hospital School and a jazz band to entertain spectators at the finish line.
And race director Vernon Jennings was relieved last week’s bad weather abated for the weekend.
He said: “I was a little concerned during the week because we had such bad weather the weekend before, but because the ground was so hard we had no parking problems at all.”
Around 1,750 runners entered, and although down on last year, Vernon beleives the move to the end of Setpember will help the long term future of the event.
“It was a success.” he declared. “My gut feeling was that it would take a couple of years for people to get used to it being a month earlier. The entries are a little down on last year but we have to allow for people to get used to the new date.
“The committee have done an exceptional job and I am very appreciative of what they have done and without the massive co-operation of people who live on the route we could not have it.”
And Vernon admitted he was relieved not to see the course record broken for a second time in 24 months. Kenyan runner Edwin Kipyego collected a £1,000 cheque for breaking the record which had stood for more than 20 years in 2010 - and when this year’s winner Yared Hagos looked to be on record pace, it appeared organisers would part with the prize of £250. If not claimed, the prize fund goes towards the local good causes supprted by the half marathon.
Around £12,000 is expected to have been raised by this year’s race - while nobody claimed the £100 prize for best fancy dress.
Vernon added: “He really shot round, it was amazing.
“But we are a half marathon primarily for people who are not quite at that standard.”
Horsham MP Francis Maude was given the honour of statring the race, and he admitted he was in awe of those who took tackled the 13.1 mile course around the undulating countryside surreounding Barns Green, Christ’s Hospital, Itchingfield and Southwater - but he would not be tempted to don his running trainers.
He said: “You see people run who are not in fantastic physical condition and all credit to them. I am not atyhletic at all - in the cross country runs at school I was always last.”