Eighteen-year-old Callum Elson ‘got in the zone’ when finding himself heading the Hudgell Solicitors sponsored 2017 Humber Bridge Half Marathon and kicked on to complete the course in a personal best time to claim first spot.
The Leeds-based runner, of the Roundhay Runners club, crossed the line in 1:12:17, almost two minutes ahead of his nearest competitor, and was naturally delighted.
“I’ve taken around a minute off my personal best time, so I am absolutely delighted. I found myself out in front at around seven miles so I knew then that I had to focus and push on. I thought to myself ‘it’s now or never’ and I got in the zone and saw it through, so I am obviously delighted.”
His third half marathon experience, it was victory at the first time of asking in East Yorkshire, having twice previously competed in the Leeds Half Marathon, finishing third earlier this year.
“I just wanted to come and run well and then I knew I’d have a chance of being well placed,” he added.
“It was a good course. I enjoyed it as it was a good mix of main and quiet roads, but the hill at nine miles was tough. I knew it was there though, so I was prepared.”
Female winner Beth Pascal, 29, of Matlock, Derbyshire, had only signed up 24 hours earlier as she wanted some extra preparation before taking part in the World 24 Hour Running Championships next weekend.
Mainly a long distance trial runner, she wanted some practice in road running before that event, and had not envisaged being the first woman home, with her time of 1:26:21 seeing her beat former winner Keri Pearson, who finished in 1:28:48.
“I’m obviously delighted to have won, especially as I only signed up yesterday and didn’t know how well I’d go,” she said.
“I haven’t done many road races as it’s not really my thing. I enjoyed the course – if not the wind when up on the bridge – but it is a great feeling to have done well.”
Spirit of runners makes event increasingly popular
Around 2,300 people from across the UK, and some from overseas, signed up for the 18th Humber Bridge Half Marathon, with a great atmosphere again between runners, who this year were treated to entertainment along the course, and from an orchestra after crossing the finishing line.
Andrea Beer, general marketing manager of Hudgell Solicitors, said: “Once again it was a fantastic morning. There is, of course, a very competitive nature to the main event with some excellent runners taking part, but at no time does that detract from the camaraderie and spirt of all who get involved.
“The excitement when all runners gather at the start is tremendous, and it is always wonderful to see the reactions at the finish line as the elite runners congratulate one another, and those running just for fun or simply for the challenge of completing the course encourage one another and embrace as they cross the line.
“You come away from the Humber Bridge Half Marathon with a real sense of pride for being involved, whether an organiser, sponsor, competitor or spectator, and that says everything about it.”
Boxer Tommy Coyle helps inspire kids by taking part in Fun Run
This year’s event again saw children take part in a 2.5 miles Fun Run, sponsored by Stagecoach. This year they had the extra incentive of running alongside Hull boxer Tommy Coyle, a patron of Hudgell Solicitors.
The course followed the first two miles of the Half Marathon, with all those taking part getting a medal.
Winner was 17-year-old Rhys Nichols, of Scarborough Athletics Club, who came home in 14 minutes and 25 seconds. The first girl was Emily Richardson in 16 minutes and 52 seconds.
Race director John Curry, of organisers The Rotary Club of Hull said: “It is fantastic to see people come from across the country to take part in the Humber Bridge Half Marathon, and even better to see their smiling faces at the end, and to hear all the positive comments we receive about the event. It is wonderful to know it is enjoyed by runners, volunteers and spectators alike.
“The standard of running and competition gets better every year, which is fantastic as we do want to attract the elite runners, but it is always the togetherness, fun and enjoyment of all who take place which stands out.
“It was a superb atmosphere again and another tremendous advert for the region.”