A boxing coach who won a place in the New York Marathon after completing the Humber Bridge Half in an impressive time is urging people to sign up for next year’s event.
Gordon Haigh, 56, completed June’s 2017 Humber Bridge Half Marathon in 01:26:56, making him the fastest of 131 runners competing in his 55-59 age category, and 32nd overall out of 2,300 registered runners.
As a result, his name was put into a hat with the first five finishers from a wide range of other age categories for the chance to win the trip to New York and inclusion in the world’s biggest marathon, courtesy of Hudgell Solicitors as main event sponsors.
Winning flights, accommodation and his race entry, Gordon was delighted, and he and his wife Suzanne travelled to the Big Apple together, with Gordon completing the marathon in 03:06:24 on November 5.
That time placed him 10th in his age group out of 2086 runners, and his overall place was 1524th out of 50,643 runners – placing him alongside some of the elite competitors.
Now, Gordon, who is well known in Hull and the boxing community for running the former Hull Saints club, is urging people to register for the 2018 Humber Bridge Half Marathon on June 24th, taking in the iconic bridge and local East Yorkshire sights.
Gordon said: “When I took part in the Humber Bridge Half Marathon this year, it was my first competitive half marathon.
“It’s such a well-run and well-organised event and the charities it raises money for are wonderful.
“If I hadn’t entered the half marathon, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to New York. I have run the Humber Bridge route many times over the years and the scenery is amazing.
“I would fully recommend it and it’s one of the best races I’ve done. I’m definitely signing up for next year and I would encourage others to do the same. You won’t regret it and it could even be someone’s Christmas present.”
‘I am so grateful for once in a lifetime opportunity’
Gordon, who has always maintained his fitness and runs between seven and eight miles per day, said being one of 50,000 runners in the New York Marathon was an experience he will never forget, running through the five boroughs of the major city.
“When I won the place for New York, I was in shock. I didn’t expect it at all,” he said.
“We went for four days and got up at 3am on the day of the marathon. We had breakfast at about 4.15am and travelled overt to Staten Island at 6am. It was cold and I was in the first wave of runners, which was three hours and under.
“We set off at 9.50am to get over the start line and once you started running, you didn’t think of the cold. I was in awe and it was a fantastic experience.
“I soaked up the atmosphere and we had a bit of time in Central Park afterwards. We went up the Empire State Building and saw a few other places while we were in New York, which was amazing.
“The American people were lovely and made us feel so welcome.
“I would have never done that without Hudgell Solicitors. What Neil Hudgell has done for me personally is give me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m so grateful for that.”
Gordon has entered five competitive runs this year, including the Hull Marathon and the Vale of York Half Marathon, and has come first in his age category in three of the events.
He said: “I’m quite competitive as I’ve boxed all my life and I’ve always believed hard work reaps rewards. I keep knocking minutes off my personal bests, so I will continue to keep running as long as I’m achieving.
“Life is about pushing yourself and enjoy experiences at the same time. I’m already looking forward to the Humber Bridge Half Marathon next year.”
Sign up for the 2018 Humber Bridge Half Marathon
Entries for the 2018 Humber Bridge Half Marathon are open now, with organisers The Rotary Club of Hull, The Rotary Club of Barton and the HEY Smile Foundation hoping to attract around 3,000 runners.
Andrea Beer, General Marketing Manager of sponsors Hudgell Solicitors, said: “We have seen runner numbers grow year on year and as Gordon says, the Humber Bridge Half Marathon is a superbly organised event, a great course, and importantly raises thousands of pounds which all goes directly to local charities and good causes across the region.
“It is our third year as sponsors at Hudgell Solicitors and it is always one of the highlights of the year, with our staff also taking part of what is a great community event.”
To register, visit www.humber-half.org.uk