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Thousands take home gold after "biggest and best" York 10k
THOUSANDS of York residents took home the gold yesterday after descending on the city’s historic streets for the fourth annual Jane Tomlinson York 10K as part of the lasting legacy of the heroic and sporting fundraiser.
This year’s event was widely acknowledged to be the biggest and best yet as people from all walks of life came together with the single aim of raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for a wealth of good causes.
Jane’s husband Mike said a new element this year was the Run For Gold, which encouraged people to set personal targets, whether 10 kilometres, a personal time or to raise cash for charity, in return for a “gold” medal at the finish line.
He said this year’s 10K – which took place during the Olympics – was particularly poignant as Jane had campaigned for the Games to be in England.
Following Team GB’s haul on Saturday, runners, walkers and wheelchair-users came together for Sunday’s 9am set-off following a warm-up led by personal trainers from gyms in York.
After the national anthem, commentators led a ten-second chant down to the race start and as the bell tolled crowds and participants alike cheered as the York Run For All 2012 10K got underway.
Mr Webb said: “I’m delighted to have been asked to be the official starter of the York 10K this year. It’s such a great thing to be a part of.
“I know that there are some really inspirational people who take part and it’s their efforts and their achievements that make this all worthwhile.”
Mr Webb ran the event in a personal best of 42.44 minutes – shaving a minute-and-a-half off his time from the Leeds 10K in June. He said the York 10K was “fantastic”. “It had everything – the weather, the cheering crowds and the beautiful landmarks to help take your mind off the pain.”
He urged anyone who had not taken part this year to sign up for the 2013 event.
“Give it a go – whatever time you get,” he said.
The runners included a team of athletes partaking in the 2013 Special Olympics in Bath, including tennis players Laura Campbell, Emma Lindsay, and Matthew Wreglesworth, and Boccia and New Age Kurling athletes Karl Mercer, Clare Edwards and Peter Shephard, and Graeme Hartley, who specialises in athletics and bowls.
At just over half-an-hour, the first runner, Ben Livesey was over the line – scooping his third consecutive gold at the York event. He was closely followed by fastest wheelchair participant Bret Crossley who described the event as “the best yet”.
Other runners to cross the finishing line were Ray Gill who turns 70 this year. Ray, who started running ten years ago after being inspired by Jane Tomlinson, came from Shropshire especially for the challenge.
York GP Dr Lesley Hayward, of Haxby , took part as part of a 2012 mission to complete 2012 miles in various fundraising events.
It was one of seven races this year for Holly Hood, 36, of Hull, to raise money for the Army Benevolence Fund. A regular runner of half marathons, Holly said she was thinking of her husband Richard throughout the race who is based at Fulford army barracks and currently doing a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
She said: “I do a big race about once a month and it really keeps me going to know that I’m doing this for Richard and raising money for this charity who help returning soldiers.”
Teams of business professionals were amongst the runners taking part in the Morrison Utility Services York 10K Corporate Challenge where local firms such as The Press, Safer York, University of York , Garbutt & Elliott and Mood International Software Ltd pitted against each other to raise money for charities.
After the main event drew to a close, more than 600 children took part in the Arena Group-sponsored Junior (2.5k) and Mini Run (1.5k).
Starting the Junior Run was James Driver, seven, who defied doctors’ expectations that he would never walk or talk.
James was joined by Arena’s Managing Director, Adrian Fitzpatrick to wave off the youngsters, while children as young as three sprinted with their parents in the Mini Run.
Among those was Noah Banks, of Selby , who has cerebral palsy and is raising money for an operation to help him walk independently.
A team of Knavesmire Primary School pupils took part in the Junior and Mini run in memory of their head teacher, Carol Weston, who died of cancer last year. They nicknamed themselves Weston’s Warriors and were raising money for cancer charities.
As well as the running challenges, families were invited to enjoy fun activities on the Knavesmire, hosted by title sponsors of the York event – Asda, including athletics, football, zumba, cricket and an inflatable assault course, while the Olympic Games was broadcast on a big screen.
This year’s event was part of the York800 celebrations to mark eight centuries of local democracy in the city. Events director Sara Burkinshaw said the 10k “showcased York at its best”.
Councillor Sonja Crisp said it was a “fantastic” part of York800 celebrations. “It was brilliant. The atmosphere was electric. The biggest and best yet.”
In 2012 more than 20,000 people have taken part in the Run For All series in Hull, Leeds and York 10K with more than 50 different charities benefitting.
In York, this year’s partner charities were the Martin House Hospice and Macmillan Cancer, along with new partner charities, St Leonard’s Hospice and Bone Cancer Research Trust.
After the race, Mike Tomlinson said he was delighted with how it had gone.
“It was brilliant and once again the atmosphere really contributed to a fantastic event.
“This year was all about setting a personal target – whether that be a personal best or some target to achieve. Only a very select few can be Olympic athletes but we can set ourselves goals to accomplish and give it a go.”