Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Massive Yorkshire Marathon success
AT almost precisely 9.30am, a sea of voices joined in with the countdown on University Road. “Ten, nine, eight”. As the chant reached one, there was a split second’s pause, then an almighty cheer. The first ever Yorkshire Marathon was officially under way.
The elite runners at the front were off like a shot. Further along University Road, it took the thousands of other runners a little longer to get started, such was the press of people.
They stood for a moment, shaking their arms to get the blood circulating – and then they surged forward, first at walking pace and then lifting into a jog. As they passed the official starting line, the announcer’s voice rose high and clear over the public address system. “You are the first people ever to take part in the first-ever Yorkshire Marathon!”
University Road and Green Dykes Lane were lined with well-wishers all the way down to Hull Road. They applauded steadily as the throng of runners passed.
“Well done, guys!” shouted one voice from the audience.
“Not long to go now!” called a wag, sparking a gale of warm laughter.
Hundreds of runners and spectators had already begun to gather at the university by 8am. For a while, they milled about apparently aimlessly, as soprano Rebecca Newman belted out a rousing rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone.
There were the usual collection of fancy dress runners – someone in a furry elephant costume, complete with long, floppy trunk; a Krusty the Clown; a man dressed as a canoe.
Not a canoe, corrected Dave Moulds sternly: a banana. He was running for St Barnabas Hospice in Lincoln, and the banana was supposed to represent a healthy food.
He was confident of completing the full 26 miles, he said. “I’ve done three marathons before.”
As 9.30am drew nearer, some kind of order began to emerge.
With the help of marshals, runners began to sort themselves into “zones” – with elite runners in Zone 1 next to the starting line, and other runners arranged in varying degrees of fitness and ability in Zones 2-5 behind.
There appeared to be some anomalies – Superman, for example, started in Zone 3, which seemed odd until Mick Cordall from Pontefract admitted he wasn’t really the Man of Steel, he’d just borrowed his costume for the day.
Most of the first-time marathon runners were starting in Zone 5. Among them were a group of friends from York Postal Harriers, jigging nervously and photographing each-other as they tried to warm up.
Heather Bulmer, Paul Beavers and Alison Catlow were all running to raise money for St Leonard’s Hospice, Cathy Grisdale for Martin House.
For most of them, it was their first marathon – although Cathy ran the London marathon earlier this year. “After London I said I’d never do another, but these three persuaded me!” she said.
The four friends had been running together for six months to prepare, three times a week. And each had their own reasons for running.
“I lost my father-in-law Ernest Bulmer last September,” said Heather. “He was in St Leonard’s.”
Cathy, meanwhile, works with Rob Oliver, father of Alfie, who sadly passed away at Martin House last year. “I wanted to do something to support him,” she said.
And a fine cause, too. There was time for one final high-five before the official final warm-up began – and the first-ever Yorkshire Marathon was off and running.
Comments are closed on this article.