The first Plusnet Yorkshire Half Marathon-Sheffield proves a winner

The huge field - over 7,500 runners signed up - set off from Arundel Gate and were cheered on by enthusiastic crowds as the UK's 'City of Sport' embraced the new event.

Showcasing the very best of Sheffield, the scenic route took the runners out of the city centre and along Ecclesall Road before turning right and climbing up Knowle Lane and Ringinglow Road to reach a section of the course offering superb views of the Peak District. It was then downhill and back to the city centre for the grand finish outside the Town Hall.

First across the finish line was Dave Archer in a time of 73mins 20secs. Gavin Keight took second place in 75mins 50secs with Jonathan Walton third in 77mins 09secs.

Sharon Barlow was the first woman home in 82mins 59secs followed by Tori Green who clocked 83mins 42secs for second spot and Zanthe Wray who took third in 84mins 13secs.

The race also featured a triple challenge giving entrants a chance to be crowned 'King of the Hill' in a timed hill climb, triumph in a largely downhill 10K challenge section and cross the finish line first to lift the Plusnet Yorkshire Half Marathon-Sheffield title.

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Male winner Dave Archer was also King of the Hill, completing the mile-long climb on Ringinglow Road in 6mins 29secs. The Queen of the Hill was Nicola Gledall with a time of 7mins and 33secs. Fastest male in the 10K challenge was again Dave Archer who clocked an impressive 31mins 51secs, while Sharon Barlow made off with the fastest women's 10K in 36mins 14secs.

A few familiar faces could also be seen taking on this new half marathon. Among those helping to start the event was Sheffield's own superstar boxer Kell Brook, who ran for the Children's Hospital Charity. Despite never having run a half marathon before, he finished in an impressive 1hour and 34 mins.

Former World Cup and Premier League referee Howard Webb, also running his first half marathon, finished in 1hour 57mins. TV favourite Harry Gration completed the course in 2hours and 32mins, while his co-presenter Nicola Rees romped home in 1hour 54mins. Leeds Rhinos favourite Barrie McDermott was cheered as he crossed the line in 2hours 21mins.

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Hundreds of youngsters were also cheered on as they took part in the event's free Arena Group Mini and Junior runs, while the Team Challenge - in which groups of friends and colleagues got together to compete in a race within a race - also proved popular.

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Peter Rippon, said: "I hope that the thousands of runners who took to Sheffield's streets during the inaugural Yorkshire Half Marathon - Sheffield enjoyed taking on such a beautiful yet challenging route.

"We are delighted that the race organisers chose such a stunning route, showing some of the countryside which surrounds our wonderful city and helps to make it such a great city in which to live, study, work and play.

"I hope that this very successful half marathon, in conjunction with Run for All, will continue to grow and thrive in the years to come."

Andy Baker, CEO of phone and broadband provider Plusnet, the half marathon's title sponsors, said: "We are delighted that this inaugural Plusnet Yorkshire Half Marathon-Sheffield was such a success. The route provided an excellent challenge and the atmosphere generated by the spectators was fantastic. I am confident this event will go from strength to strength."

Event lead Lynne Preston said: "We've had some great feedback already from runners who told us they loved this scenic, yet challenging course. A huge thank you to all of those who took part, but also every single one of the volunteers without whom the event just couldn't happen.

"A special thank you, too, to the thousands of Sheffield residents who came out to cheer on the runners right around the course. They created a great atmosphere for everyone taking part, from the start right to the very finish."

Of the children's runs, Adrian Fitzpatrick, Arena Group managing director, said: "It was wonderful to see so many children taking part in the Mini and Junior runs which we were delighted to sponsor. Not only do the youngsters get to enjoy a great event they have the added satisfaction of helping a really worthy cause."

The winning junior boys were Keiran Dowzer in 1st, Benjamin Highland in 2nd and Isaac Marston-Giroux in 3rd. The girls' title was taken by Ellie Rogers, with Rania Maaranen in 2nd and Marci Walsh in 3rd.

The official charity of the Arena Group Mini and Junior event was Sheffield-based Safe@Last, which works with and on behalf of young people at risk through running away.

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The Plusnet Yorkshire Half Marathon's official partner charities were Sheffield-based youth housing charity Roundabout; Myaware - the new name for the Myasthenia Gravis Association, which supports sufferers of this muscle weakening condition; Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice; Macmillan Cancer Care; The Children's Hospital Charity; Sheffield Hospitals Charity; CLIC Sargent; St Luke's Hospice, Breast Cancer Care and the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

The Yorkshire Half Marathon-Sheffield's supporters and media partners are Plusnet, Asda Foundation, Sheffield City Council, BBC Radio Sheffield, The Sheffield Star, iPro Sport, Runner's World, Run247.com and Marathon Talk.

Attention now turns to the Plusnet Leeds Half Marathon on Sunday 10th May. Entries are open at www.theyorkshiremarathon.com

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