Over a thousand up for the challenge in Kingston

13th October 2015

Dry and pleasant weather greeted 1,400 runners as they arrived for the 2015 Garmin Kingston Run Challenge on Sunday. This ever popular end of season event has been held annually for 26 years and shows no signs of losing its appeal. The traditional 8 and 16 mile distances were on offer, but this year also saw the return of a marathon option after a number of years on hiatus.

Part of the Garmin Kingston Run Challenge’s perennial appeal is its fast and flat route along the river that offers big PB potential. As the runners assembled on the High Street for the 8am marathon start it was obvious that many were after that record time as a plethora of Garmin watches bleeped into action and large groups surrounded the fastest pacers. As the horn sounded to signal the official start roughly 300 of those attempting 26.2 miles tore round the first bend and headed through central Kingston.

IMG_2360At 8:30 it was time for everybody else to get going with a thousand 8 and 16 mile runners gathering at the start line. They were treated to a good luck speech from Roy Arora, the Mayor of Kingston, who then set them on their way.

Many of the runners were taking part to support the Kingston Hospital Charity who were raising funds for their dementia appeal. The local cause had plenty of volunteers on hand to cheer on their participants who were wearing distinctive t-shirts, with roars of support whenever somebody went past.

As is traditional the route went over Kingston Bridge and then followed the River Thames path down to Hampton Court. After crossing another bridge there it was a stretch down to the Scilly Isles near Esher, where runners could collect refreshments and Zipvit Sport energy gels. After a section through Thames Ditton it’s time to re-join the riverside which leads all the way back to the Ancient Market Square in Kingston. In total that’s an 8 mile loop, with 2 laps for the 16 and a slightly extended 3 laps for those attempting a marathon.

Simon Tack was the first finisher over the line on the day. Simon finished the 8 mile course in 49:13, an almost perfect 6 minute per mile pace. Mark Palser was a close second, with Graham Quick living up to his name in third. Our first female finisher was Gabriel Carnwath in a fantastic 52:39, Annie Emmerson was a couple of minutes behind her in second just ahead of Cat Doyle.

KRF15_GAG_002039The first 16 mile finisher was Stuart Macdougall who raced across the line in 1:38:15, just 12 seconds ahead of second place Johnny Suttle. Completing the male podium was Jim Lurkins who had an impressive average speed of 9.61 miles per hour. Rebecca Hair won the female 16 mile with a time of 1:53:51, five minutes ahead of Sarah Winstone. Lena Thompson was in third, coming over the line in just over 2 hours.
The finale of the day was the Garmin Kingston Marathon, with crowds of supportive friends and family gathered in the Ancient Market Square eagerly awaiting the runners’ return. A roar could be heard from down the road which signalled the first person was on the way, and it was Daniel Robinson who stormed home to cross the line and win the marathon. Daniel from Birmingham completed 26.2 miles in a hugely impressive time of 2:42:47. Ben Broyd (2:49:39) was second place on the day, with Michael Whyte (2:57:01) third back.

The female marathon winner was Yasmeen Hussain who averaged seven minute miles the whole way round to finish in a time of 3:04:31 and take the title. Samantha Rose (3:19:34) was second with Sophie Slaney (3:28:12) completing the top three. A special mention should go to Sophie as incredibly, this was actually her first ever marathon!

Over the next couple of hours runners continued to complete the challenge and were met by cheering crowds and rewarded with a bespoke medal. Plenty of smiling faces could be seen, and many a PB was smashed. Complete results for all distances can be found here.

The event will return in 2016, but next up for Kingston-Upon-Thames it’s the Lidl Kingston Breakfast Run on Sunday 3 April.