HAVING personally run and completed the first ten Stafford half marathons, from 1984, I has to admire the continued popularity of the county town race, writes Dave McLean.
It is therefore pleasing to see that another capacity 2,500 runners (similar to that in its inaugural year) of all ages and ability will line up for this latest 13.1 mile challenge on Sunday for the 2013 Stafford Borough Council promotion.
While crowds will pack the town centre and be able to watch the fun run as well as the opening and closing stages of the half marathon, many will line the route giving good support to all the runners.
It was in last year’s race that ladies’ winner Mandy Vernon (Trentham AC) became the first recipient of the Clare Skelton
Clare won the ladies’ half
marathon crown in 2003 when a member of Cannock and Stafford AC and broke the then-existing record at the time, clocking 81.19. It was a record that stood for six years.
In May 2011 this popular and much respected local runner, who later joined Stafford Harriers, lost her battle against ovarian cancer.
The name of this year’s lady winner will also be added to the Clare Skelton honours board, at Stafford Leisure Centre, that was unveiled last year.
This weekend’s race day also incorporates the annual one- mile school and family fun run
for those who find the 13.1 miles just a little out of their reach. Entries for the town centre fun run (with £2 surcharge) will still
be taken on the day, but only up to 9.45am as the main race starts at 10am from Stafford Street.
Over the years the fun run has become a very popular event and will almost certainly be again this weekend.
It is suitable for all ages, from young toddlers and children to parents and grandparents. Many take the opportunity to run in fancy dress and raise money for various charities, making for a great family fun day.
All those completing the half marathon will receive a medal and a commemorative T-shirt, with prizes in the open and age group veteran categories. Fun runners will pick up a medal and there will be spot prizes for the best and most creative costumes.
See next week’s Newsletter for our special race report and pictures.