Olympic 10,000 metres athlete Andy Vernon made a successful transition from the track to the road by winning the Great Birmingham Run on Sunday (16 October).
The 30-year-old of Aldershot, Farnham and District AC won in 1:03:32, passing clubmate Chris Thompson at 8 miles before going on to claim victory. Thompson was 22 seconds behind in 1:03:54 with Belgian Koen Naert taking third place in 1:04:24.
Elizeba Cherono of The Netherlands won the Elite women’s race in 1:13:42, more than a minute ahead of Romania’s Madalina Florea who was second in 1:14:45. Brit Lauren Deadman of Havering AC was third in 1:14:54, an impressive performance for her half marathon debut.
The top performaers were among 20,000 runners who pounded the streets of Birmingham, taking part in the Junior and Mini events as well as the half marathon. Many were running to fundraise for charity and were joined in their endeavours by celebrities from radio, television and sport. They included Nell McAndrew (presenter/fitness author), Gemma Hill (Free Radio), Chris Chittell (Emmerdale’s Eric Pollard) and Leon Taylor (Olympic Diver).
The success of this and other running events are proof of the growing popularity of the sport in Birmingham; with the addition of a marathon next year adding a further boost to its reputation. A view echoed by Great Run's David Hart who said: “With the Great Birmingham 10K, the Great Birmingham Run and now the Birmingham International Marathon taking place in the city, there is every opportunity for runners to continue their journey with us.”
Entries are now open for the 2017 Great Birmingham Run on Sunday 15 October. More details at the Great Run website