Brooks Fleet pre-London half marathon a resounding success

Fleet Half

Last Sunday 2,300 runners took to the streets of Fleet and neighbouring villages to battle against the chilly wet conditons to complete this year's Brooks Fleet pre-London Half Marathon. Despite the poor weather organisers Fleet & Crookham AC reported a good turnout of runners and supporting crowds along the course.

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Race Director Penny Abbott said after the race "I would like to thank all of the runners, marshals and other helpers who turned out today for the 32nd running of the Brooks Fleet pre-London half marathon.  On what was a very difficult weekend in terms of the weather - with the freak rain for hours on Friday severely impacting the preparation of course and the state of Calthorpe Park on the race day.  However, the 2,300 finishing runners all seemed to still enjoy their day and I hope they went away happy with their performance.  They should all be very proud of themselves for still turning out and running when the forecast was so poor on race day morning.  We were lucky because the rain did ease during the actual race.  It is a tribute to the town of Fleet that so many people still supported the race and cheered on the runners who braved the elements.  Support for the race from spectaors, marshals, helpers and of course the residents of Fleet who alter their normal Sunday coming and goings because of the road closures.  We really do appreciate it and thank you all once again.  We hope that Mother Nature is kinder to us next has been a very tiring weekend for all involved."


First man home and overall winner of the race was Matt Blunden from the RAF in a time of 1.11.36, closely followed by Mark Greenwood of the Army in 1.11.57 and 3rd was Iain Bailey of the RAF in 1.13.05.  First lady home and a very impressive 23rd overall was Liz Cocks of Birstall Running Club in 1.16.36.  2nd lady home was Lesley Locks from the local running club Hart Road Runners in a time of 1.19.16 and 3rd lady was Ami Yetton of Plymouth Harriers in 1.20.59.


The Fleet Half Marathon incorporates the Inter-Services Championships and the Army came out on top by taking both the mens and ladies team prizes - both overall and Inter-Services.  The winning mens team was made up of Mark Greenwood, Nick Curtis and Quinten Kearns and the winning ladies team included Elysia Ridley, Gemma Jones and Kelly Haniver.


First Fleet & Crookham AC runner was Doug Murray in 1.23.52 and first lady was Jolene Sadler in a time of 1.41.36


The winning charity team was Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research who is the race's main associated charity made up of TV celebrities and invited guests.  Local charity The Matthew Elvidge Trust came 2nd and was the largest team in the race by far. Hamish Elvidge said after the race "The Matthew Elvidge Trust had another record Fleet Half Marathon with over 160 runners raising awareness of anxiety and depression and highlighting the need for people, particularly men, to talk about how they are feeling and seek the right professional help. We raised over £30,000 for our work and would like to thank the organisers again for their wonderful support in such atrocious conditions!"


This year's local associated race was the Brain Tumour Trust.   Angela and Neil Dickson from BTT were at the start line to greet Team Truly Scrumptious and thank them for their hard work at getting sponsorships.  The team was lead by Claire Killick who went to school with Samantha Dickson who sadly died of a brain tumour.  She reported after the race "Despite the awful downpours we had great races, a lot of us were first timers and came in between 2 hours and 2:30 hours and there wer a few that were gearing up for the big London Marathon to continue with sponsorships.  The one thing that everyone I spoke to running mentioned was how amazing the marshals were at informing us how we were getting on and giving us great tips and encouraging words and the superb crowd of Fleet, even the rain didn't dampen their great cheers of support and it really kept us going.  We are currently at £3265.66 but after a gruelling day we still have lots of sponsors coming in."


Andy Seery who achieved a world record in last year's race by running the 13.1 mile course in an armoured suit returned this year with Battle of the Boozers - 4 pub teams running the course dressed as Wizard of Oz characters carrying beer barrels. After the race Andy said "It was a great day for us, nearly everyone finished the run even if slower than we expected but felt a great achievement for me to get beer drinking, cigarette smoking boys and girls to do this event and I'm very proud of them.  We believe we are in the region of £2,500 which is a little down on what we hoped for but still a nice amount to be able to give away.  We will be back next year bigger, better and hopefully even fitter? Despite the weather we are very grateful to Penny (Race Director) and Sue (Capel - Entries) for all their support and assistance as well as the Marshalls and St Johns who provided very welcome mars bars!"


The organisers would like to thank all their sponsors Brooks the International sports shoes and clothing specialists who stepped in early this year to be the main sponsor and local partners Alton Sports of Farnham, BMW Barons of Farnborough and Nuffields Health of Farnham.  Without their support and the assistance of the Army, RAYNET, Fleet Town Council, Hart District Council, Hampshire Police, Hart Safety Advisory Group, St John Ambulance, The Event Medicine Company, Amey Depot (Hook), all race officials, local Scouts & Guide groups, ATC, members of Fleet & Crookham AC, Hart Road Runners, and the 100s of volunteer marshals, drink station organisers and medal hangers the race would not be able to achieve the gold rating that it does each year from BARR (British Association of Road Races).