Saturday, 24th March 2018
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Mercer Surrey Half Marathon is a huge success

by editor
Monday 12th March 2018
The multi-award-winning Mercer Surrey Half Marathon took place for a fifth year on Sunday 11 March at Woking Leisure Centre.
Thousands of runners and spectators arrived at the Leisure Centre to support this fantastic community event; sponsored for a second year by headline sponsor Mercer. Everyone was welcomed into the buzzing event village to enjoy wealth of activities on offer; including a double decker biscuit bus (where one could enjoy refreshments with a “birds eye view” of the event), face painting, live music, charity stalls and a number of food and drink vendors.
Surrey-based health columnist and PT Ben Short kicked off the proceedings with a mass warm-up, broadcast on a big screen. 3500 runners were then called to take part in one of the UK’s only fully closed-road 5km running races; lead by Mercedes A class vehicle and Woking CC cyclists. Scott Overall crossed the line in 1:08:37.9 to take the win. With Jenna Hill finishing in 1:19:20.0 to take the prize for first lady.
Surrey’s celebrity chef Steve Drake was among the 3500 of runners who took part in the sell-out half marathon; which follows a fully-closed single-lap route out from Woking town towards Guildford and back. The notably picturesque race was made even more enjoyable by the live performances from local musical acts positioned along the route; including marching band Cadence Drum & Bugle Corps and “returning favourite” Surrey Youth Brass Ensemble - who performed tunes requested by runners for a fifth year. 
Our thanks to The Jolly Farmer, The Mayford Arms and The Olive Tree pubs who hosted three of the five water stations along the route which were manned by dozens of cadets and local volunteers. These pubs offered a welcome respite for communities of cheering spectators too - who gathered to enjoy the live music and a race day “breakfast buffet” between hi-fiving runners and giving out jelly babies. 
Phil Howard, Jack Robinson and Mark Woodward from local business Mercer were the winners of the Morrisons Solicitors Corporate Challenge. The whole team raced across the line within  04:31:50. Mike Jackson from Morrisons Solicitors extended his congratulations to the team as they were presented with a trophy.
There were certainly some future “running stars in the making” in the 550-strong field of children taking part in the Kids Race. The sellout Kids Race at the Mercer Surrey Half Marathon is one of the UK’s largest closed-road running races for children aged 6+. The experience clearly inspires the excitable children - who sprinted the first 100m of their race at what appeared to be twice the pace of the adults before them!

Mick Barlow from the British Association of Road Races (BARR) extended his congratulations to the organisers and awarded them with BARR’s Gold Standard Race Grade for another year; crediting their “exceptionally high standard of race organisation and commitment to runners.”

Toby, Becky, Hollie, Rory and Sam (the organisers) extend their thanks to the runners, spectators and residents, including: title partner Mercer; charity partners Macmillan, Harrison’s Fund, and Woking & Sam Beare Hospices; to Corporate Challenge sponsors Morrisons Solicitors; and to GlucoRX, Fitstuff, Salming, smart London, Synergy Physiotherapy, Woking Leisure Centre, Celebrate Woking and Woking Borough Council. Their thanks is also extended to the local community who came to perform, volunteer, and cheer on runners; and to residents for their patience in working their morning travel around the road closures. Local businesses are thanked for offering discounted “race day deals” and for being so accommodating of this community event.

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