Nearly 8,000 runners woke up the City of Dreaming Spires as the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon started with a bang on Broad Street on Sunday (9 October). Just over 67 minutes later a huge crowd cheered Paul Whittaker (Southend, 1:07:18) home and many continued their vocal support for four hours until Ajit Kulkarni and Manish Chitnis finished to complete the race.
Paul Whittaker was kept under pressure from runners-up Alex Milne (Enfield & Haringey, 1:07:41), with a lifetime best, and Eoghan Totten (Serpentine, 1:07:51) as the elite podium order was decided.
The women’s title went to Molly Browne (Birmingham Rowheath, 1:21:14 PB) from local Kate Neihaus (Oxford University, 1:21:54) and Victoria Briggs (1:23:01). More than 400 runners raced round the historic 13.1 mile course in less than 90 minutes and that threshold was met precisely on gun time by James Felce of local club Headington Road Runners and the unaffiliated Armin Krupp.
In addition to the main race, over 450 primary school children ran their final mile of the Schools' Half Marathon Challenge, helping to raise money for local charity partner Oxford United Community Trust. The Schools’ Challenge was sponsored by The School Lunch Company.
As always at these events charity was high on the agenda for many participants. A spokesperson from Macmillan Cancer Support said: “An incredible 400 runners have taken part for us today and we are expecting to raise £70,000 from the event to support people affected by cancer. We would like to congratulate all the runners on what has been a wonderful day!’
Neville Koopowitz, CEO of Vitality commented, “We are delighted to see so many runners take part in today’s Vitality Oxford Half Marathon. It was a superb turnout and we look forward to our next event - The Vitality Brighton Half Marathon on Sunday 26 February.”