19 Sep

Shining Stars At Worcester

401 Marathon Man Ben Smith And Tanni Grey-Thompson At The Worcester City Run

Three high profile athletes were among a record field at Sunday’s Worcester City Run (17 September). For them and many others it was a day to remember...

Around 4,000 people took part in the 10K, inaugural Half Marathon and Young Athletes Run in perfect conditions. The event was organised by Steve Cram’s Events of the North company in conjunction with Worcester City Council. 
Phil Beastall of Cheltenham Harriers won the 10K in 31:38 and Worcester AC and GB long distance runner Jenny Nesbitt was also in impressive form, winning the women’s 10K race in 34:26, more than four minutes ahead of the second placed finisher. 
Paralympic legend Tanni Grey-Thompson finished in 1:23:00 despite mechanical issues with her race wheelchair, causing her to use her day chair instead. The 11-time gold medallist was a favourite with the crowds who cheered her along the way and she attributed her performance to their tremendous support. 
In the half marathon, Stuart Hawkes of Tipton Harriers was first across the finish line in 1:10:24. Alice Burgin of Bedford & County AC was the fastest female in 1:21:18.   
401 Challenge runner and campaigner Ben Smith clocked 1:53:28. Last year Ben completed 401 marathons in 401 days and raised more than £330,000 for two anti-bullying charities. He offered words of encouragement to those running along side him that helped them to a PB and earned their grateful thanks in return.
Among those running for charity were the Wolverhampton Bobsled Team and Jane Sutton who were joined along the route by Dana Power a.k.a. Puffina The Asthma Dragon. He had the honour of being the first dragon to finish the half marathon (1:38:32) and has vowed to return next year. 
Photo courtesy of Purple Swan Photography.