Sell-out Leeds Half Marathon heralded another success

The streets of Leeds became a carnival today [Sunday 11th May] as huge crowds turned out to cheer on thousands of runners taking part in the sell-out Leeds Half Marathon.

With 7,000 runners entering the 13.1 mile event, it was the biggest field in the half marathon’s three-decade history and firmly cemented its reputation as one of the UK’s most popular races.

First over the finishing line was Tesfaye Debele in a time of 1hour 8mins and 26secs. It follows his victory at the Asda Foundation Leeds 10K in 2013. First female runner home was Pauline Munro who crossed the line in 1hr 19 mins and 41 secs.

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The course started in the Headrow and took competitors out of the city centre along Meanwood Road and Stonegate Road to the Ring Road. It was then down Butcher Hill and Hawksworth Road returning to the city centre via Abbey Road and Kirkstall Road and across the finish line in Cookridge Street, alongside the showpiece Millennium Square.

LHM 2014

Among those who took part in the event, which since 2012 has been organised by Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All, was England Rugby Union coach Stuart Lancaster, who achieved his aim of breaking 2 hours.

Stuart, who finished in a time of 1hour 57mins and 27secs, said: “It was tough, but I really enjoyed it. The support was amazing and I’m so pleased I managed to break the two hour mark.”

BBC sports reporter George Riley ran the half marathon as part of his challenge to complete 100 race miles in 2014. The funds he raises will go to the Steve Prescott Foundation, a charity established by the former Rugby League star who managed to raise £500,000 before his death from a rare form of cancer in November last year. George finished in 1hour 49mins and 29secs.

George and Stuart were joined by former Leeds United and England footballer Danny Mills and Leeds Rhinos favourite Barrie McDermott. Danny made it home in a very fast 1hour 31mins and 37 secs while Barrie crossed the line at 2hours 21mins and 25secs.

Barrie said: “It was hard but I enjoyed that – it’s not bad; I’m not built for running!”

Leeds mum Sarah Kennedy was another running for a cause close to her heart – St James’s Hospital, where neo-natal staff helped ensure the survival  of her daughter, Emily, who was born 13 weeks premature in June last year.

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Sarah has also signed up for the Asda Foundation Leeds, York, Hull and Pennine Lancashire 10Ks and the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. Sarah finished in 2hours 24mins and 15secs.

The oldest competitor was 85-year-old John Johnson, of Garforth who managed a highly creditable 2 hours 29mins and 40secs.

Some of the biggest cheers of the day were reserved for hundreds of youngsters taking part in the free Arena Group Leeds Mini and Junior Run, this year supporting Leeds-based charity SNAPS, which helps children with special needs and their families.

The winner of the boys’ Junior Run – for 9 to 14 year olds – was Alex Wyke-Ulliott, 14, with Harvey Norden, 11, in 2nd and Keiran Roebuck, 13, in 3rd. Top of the tree for the girls’ was Alisha Laidler, 13, with Megan Driscoll, 13, in 2nd and Megan Wyke-Ulliott, 11, in 3rd

Arena Group Managing Director Adrian Fitzpatrick said: “It was great to see so many children taking part in the Leeds Mini and Junior Run. We are delighted that our sponsorship allows youngsters to run for free.

“They all should be applauded for the great effort they have made and it is particularly pleasing to know that event has raised lots of money to support the excellent work of SNAPS.”

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There was also lots of enthusiastic support for the hundreds of Corporate Relay competitors – teams of six sharing the 13.1 miles between them and competing to carry off the title of the city’s fastest firm.

Winner of the relay was Walker Crips Invests who finished in a combined time of 1hour 26mins and 20secs.

The event provided a major fundraising boost for a host of worthy causes. Known as the region’s biggest hospice run, the race’s partner charities were St Gemma’s and Sue Ryder Wheatfields in Leeds; Martin House Children’s Hospice in Boston Spa; St Michael’s, Harrogate; Sue Ryder Manorlands, Oxenhope; Overgate, Elland; Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, Huddersfield; Marie Curie in Bradford and the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

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Last year’s half marathon raised a record-breaking £150,000 for the partners and tens of thousands of pounds more were raised by runners taking part for other good causes of their choice. The 2014 event is expected to be equally successful.

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure, said: “The biggest winners from today’s half marathon have been the countless organisations and charities that will receive hard-earned donations from the runners. I’d like to pay tribute to the efforts of all of the participants and offer my congratulations for their achievements.

“Leeds has once again demonstrated that it can deliver one of the best events in the country and we can already look forward to it being even bigger and better next year.”

Run For All event lead Lynne Preston said: “We would like to thank everyone who has helped make this year’s Leeds Half Marathon such a success – the runners, spectators and the many volunteers who provide such valuable support.

“It is because of the fantastic backing we receive that the event continues to go from strength to strength.”

The Leeds Half Marathon is sponsored by Leeds City Council, Yorkshire Evening Post, 105 Capital FM, Asda Foundation, Powerade and Muscle Milk.

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Entries are now open for 2015’s Leeds Half Marathon which takes place on Sunday 10th May. Anyone entering before 00:01 on Tuesday 13th May can do so for the early bird price of £24 – a saving of up to £8 on the usual fee.

Click here to enter. 

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The results in full:

The individual winners of the Half Marathon were:

1st place Male – Tesfaye Debele in 1hour 8mins and 26secs

2nd place Male – Matthew John 1hour 12mins and 16secs

3rd place Male – Josh Ridley in 1hour 14mins and 8secs

 

1st place Female – Pauline Munro in 1hour 19mins and 41secs

2nd place Female – Donna Edmondson Booker in 1hour 25mins 52secs

3rd place Female – Lindy Stockdale in 1hour 26mins and 1sec

 

The winners of the Corporate Relay were:

1st Open Team – Walker Crips Invests in 1hour 26mins and 20secs

1st Mixed Team – Gordon’s Gallopers in 1hour 36mins and 58secs

1st Female Team – Busy Women’s Fitness A Team in 1hour 47mins and 20secs

Full results can be found here.