The award-winning Vitality Bath Half Marathon returned to the streets of Bath today, Sunday 12th March, with a record number of 12,748 runners crossing the finish line and an estimated 40,000 spectators celebrating the 36th edition of this much-loved race.
An overcast but dry morning provided perfect running conditions for what is one of the longest established and most iconic city centre road races in the UK.
The Vitality Bath Half Marathon was started at 11am by Greg Ingham, Chief Executive of Media Clash, with a mix of first time runners, charity runners, club runners and elite athletes taking on the traffic-free two lap course. Claudia Ratcliffe and ‘Shoe Barker’ from Cancer Research UK sent the Family Fun Runners on their way at 11.20am.
Ben Fish of Blackburn Harriers AC dominated the men’s field and took the lead from the start, claiming the men’s title in a time of 1:05:16. Runner up Peter Huck of Run-Fast crossed the finish line in 1:06:35, and Dominic Nolan of Croydon Harriers claimed third place in 1:08:28.
The women’s race was closely fought and saw the top five finishing within less than a minute of each other. Ruth Barnes of Avon Valley Runners ran a strong race and secured the women’s title in a time of 01:15:32, ahead of Amy Clements of Kent AC who took second place in 01:15:55 and Rachel Felton of Run-Fast who finished third in 01:16:10.
The race starts and finishes in Great Pulteney Street, and for the first time since 2006 the race route had changed due to a minor diversion around the North Quays development.
The Family Fun Run set off shortly after the Vitality Bath Half Marathon, at 11.20am, and saw 930 participants of all ages and abilities run the ¾ mile distance of the first section of the half marathon course. As always, the Family Fun Run was greeted by huge support from spectators, and delighted many young runners who were able to experience the thrill of race day. The winner of the Family Fun Run was Max Watson with a time of 0:04:15.
Ben Fish and Ruth Barnes - winners of the 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon
Results (provisional) – 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon
1. Ben Fish (Blackburn Harriers AC), 01:05:16
2. Peter Huck (Run-Fast), 01:06:35
3. Dominic Nolan (Croydon Harriers), 01:08:28
1. Ruth Barnes (Avon Valley Runners), 01:15:32
2. Amy Clements (Kent AC), 01:15:55
3. Rachel Felton (Run-Fast), 01:16:10
Race Director Andrew Taylor from Running High Events said: “The 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon has, once again, been an absolutely brilliant year for us with the biggest ever turnout of runners, and it looks to be yet another record-breaking year for charity fundraising.
“We would like to congratulate the winners and everyone who crossed the finish line. The Bath Half is a much-loved event within the community and attracts a large number of runners from further afield for its flat, fast course and incredible atmosphere.
“Our thanks go to all the runners for choosing to run the Bath Half, the spectators for their unfailing support, and all the local volunteers, contractors and partners who work so hard behind the scenes to make the event the success that it is. I would also like to thank all the bands who gave their time for free to support the event, and to all the venues who generously donated the use of their premises. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again in 2018!”
Neville Koopowitz, CEO of Vitality commented: “We are delighted to see so many runners take part in today’s Vitality Bath Half Marathon, it was a fantastic turnout and we can’t wait for our next event in the Vitality Run Series.”
Claudia Ratcliffe, Sports Partnership Manager at Cancer Research UK added: “It has been a privilege to be the Lead Charity at the 2017 Vitality Bath Half, and for our Cancer Research Kids & Teens branch to be the official Family Fun Run charity. We were thrilled to have 850 runners take part in today’s Vitality Bath Half Marathon and 600 runners in the Family Fun Run. We would like to thank each and every one of them for choosing to support Cancer Research UK and help us take a step closer to beating cancer. We have been overwhelmed by the support and the amazing fundraising efforts of people of all ages, many of whom have been affected by cancer in some way.”
The Vitality Bath Half Marathon is the largest single day charity fundraising running event in the South West, raising over £2.2 million at the 2016 event alone. In 2017 the race supported over 130 different charity partners, and it is expected that fundraising totals will exceed all previous years. Cancer Research UK was the Lead Charity for 2017, with Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens the official Family Fun Run Charity and Dorothy House Hospice Care the official Local Charity.
Vitality was the title sponsor for the 2017 Bath Half Marathon. Other sponsors and partners included Intersport John Moore Sports, Lucozade Sport, Bath Chronicle, Bath Life, BBC Radio Bristol, Heart FM, Total Guide to Bath and JustGiving.
The date for the 2018 Bath Half Marathon has been confirmed as Sunday 4th March, and early bird entries for the 2018 race are open from Monday 13th March. The race sells out each year and the organisers are expecting places for the 2018 event to sell out quicker than ever before.