What a year 2018 turned out to be! With highs, lows, tears and cheers we fondly look back on a momentous season in which all our runners helped raise millions.
March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, so the old saying goes. It certainly held true this year when ferocious weather sent an icy blast across the country and disrupted the start of Run For All’s 2018 season.
Snow on 18th March forced the postponement of the City of Lincoln 10K. But you just can’t keep a good event down and on 1st July thousands of runners were in Lincoln for the rearranged date of this popular 10K.
The weather still played its part however, and lots of water was the order of the day as runners tackled the course in soaring summer temperatures.
Among those taking part were about 20 members of Lincoln University’s Athletics Club, one of the biggest teams in the race. They were raising money for the Huntington’s Disease Association in support of the club’s president, Ellis Kerton, who was diagnosed with the disease – an inherited condition that damages certain nerve cells in the brain – in September 2016.
She said: “As a team we have taken part in the Lincoln 10k since my first year at university, therefore I couldn't think of a more fitting event for my final year for us all to run together for such a brilliant charity.”
Runners up for a challenge were in Sheffield on 8th April to take on the Sheffield Half Marathon – three events in one race giving entrants a chance to be crowned ‘King or Queen of the Hill’ in a timed hill climb, triumph in a largely downhill 10K sprint section and cross the finish line first to lift the Sheffield Half Marathon title.
The hill on Ringinglow Road provided its usual tough test with plenty of huffing and puffing but there was no shortage of encouragement as spectators offered great support. And the satisfaction of conquering the hill was coupled with outstanding views of the Peak District.
Among those over the finish line was Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis, who was running in aid of Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, and clocked a time of 1:54. A month later Dan triumphed in a political race when he was elected mayor of the Sheffield city region.
A few weeks later on Sunday 6th May, King’s Lynn was the venue for the Grand East Anglia Run (GEAR). Despite the capacity being increased, the event was a sell out with all places quickly snapped up.
The big field prompted a revised route. Entrants followed last year’s course but in an anti-clockwise direction in an effort to make it easier and safer to accommodate more runners.
Among the many people running for charity was Jenny Johnson, who took part after losing six stone in 9 months. She ran in support of the Alzheimer’s Society.
Later in May saw the 33rd running of the Leeds Half Marathon - Yorkshire’s biggest half marathon. As ever, the atmosphere was tremendous with runners from across the globe taking part. Some of the nations represented included China, France, Germany, Greece, Australia, Canada, Lithuania, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, Malta, Romania and Poland.
But the oldest competitor hailed from closer to home. At 76-years-old Hilary Wharam, a member of Horsforth Harriers, took on the challenge to inspire women of all ages to take up running and enjoy the associated health benefits.
Of course doctors already know about those health benefits – no wonder 178 of them entered.
Thousands of runners took part in an event new to the Run For All stable on Sunday 2nd June – the Derby Half Marathon, formerly known as the Ramathon.
It was a particularly memorable day for Mel Beale, who marked his 70th birthday by running the 13.1 miles.
There was a new event to celebrate a week later on June 10th when runners from across East Yorkshire pulled on their trainers for the inaugural Hull Half Marathon, which along with the well-established 10K and corporate challenge event made for a fantastic Hull Running Festival.
There was a real buzz on the city’s streets as runners in all three events were spurred on by supportive crowds. Among those who tackled the new half marathon challenge was Andrew Bishop, 48, of Beverley, who ran after twice being diagnosed with cancer over the past nine years.
Former Leeds Rhinos great Jamie Peacock joined the thousands of entrants who lined up for the Leeds 10K on July 8th. The event featured a strong field of wheelchair athletes including paratriathlete Jade Jones, who won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and Callum Hall who also competed at the games.
A week later the Red Rose county was the focus of attention as runners headed to Lancashire for the popular and friendly Burnley 10K
Internet sensation Dawn Nisbet was a recognisable face taking part in this year’s run. The image of Dawn crossing the finish line of a Parkrun went viral after people were inspired by the joy on her face, despite the fact she finished last.
Since then, thousands have followed Oldham mum-of-two Dawn’s journey to fitness and she’s been featured on TV and radio.
It was party time on August 5th when the York 10K celebrated its 10th anniversary. Since its launch over 50,000 runners have entered the event, raising more than £2.5m for charity.
Mark Gallimore’s participation this year took him a few thousand steps closer to his target of clocking up 2,000 miles by 2024 to mark 10 years of raising funds for children’s cancer charity Candlelighters, which provided support for him and his family when his two-year-old-son, George, was diagnosed with leukaemia.
The Nottingham 10K continues to go from strength to strength since its launch in 2016 and the capacity for this year’s event was increased. There was a tremendous atmosphere as thousands of runners tackled the course that featured Holme Pierrepont National Watersports Centre.
On September 9th runners gathered for another excellent East Midlands event – the Leicester 10K. Leicester Tigers captain and England international Tom Youngs got the race underway and the field included people raising money for the Tigers Foundation charity.
It was a return to Lancashire on September 16th for the Bury 10K where Hits Radio presenter and former One Show host, Blue Peter presenter and Strictly-star Gethin Jones was among those to take on the challenge.
Back across the Pennines a week later to complete an action-packed month with the Sheffield 10K. The high-profile Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Coun Magid Magid, came down and officially started the Sheffield 10K with thousands of runners crossing the start.
So to the University of York on October 14th and the season’s grand finale, the Yorkshire 10 Mile and the Yorkshire Marathon – one day two great events. The rain made it a soggy affair but that did not dampen the spirits of the thousands of runners who completed the 26.2 miles.
Among the many stories of courage and determination surrounding the marathon, that of Sean Coxhead stood out. The 36-year-old father of one was diagnosed with terminal cancer in May but that did not stop him lining up for the marathon to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Ahead of the race he said: “I am going to prove that I won’t be stopped, cancer will not beat me.”
And it didn’t. The cheers were long and loud when Sean crossed the finish line.
Corporate challenges, mini and junior runs and family fun runs also made a massive contribution to a wonderful 2018 season. Thank you to everyone – especially our fantastic volunteers – who supported our events. Bring on 2019!