A record-breaking Brighton Half Marathon was soaked in glorious winter sunshine yesterday morning (February 17).
A total of 7,539 people completed the 13.1-mile course during the 23rd successful running of the event, with record crowds cheering them on.
In total 7,624 runners took to the start line in Madeira Drive at 9am, out of the 10,500 people who had signed up to the Sussex Beacon-organised run.
The first runners dashed along the seafront finish one hour and seven minutes later while the last of the runners battled over the line some three hours after the elite finishers.
US international football player Robbie Rogers, who came to prominence this week as only the third professional footballer to come out as gay, was the pick of the celebrity runners, crossing the line in 01:30:16.
He was closely followed by Downton Abbey’s Ed Speleers in 1:35:35, Katie Price’s brother Danny, who ran in jeans for the Jeans for Genes charity, finished in 2:05:55 and former Albion defender Guy Butters completed the course in 2:53:29.
Wacky racers taking on the course with the added burden of a costume included competitors dressed as dinosaurs, chickens, cars, toilets and children’s character Where’s Wally?
Philip Stewart, 41, from Tivoli Road, Brighton, was celebrating after unofficially breaking the world record for the fastest half marathon for a male runner dressed up as fruit.
His official time of 1 hour 31 minutes smashed the previous record of 1 hour 48 minutes set two-and-a-half years ago.
He said: “The crowd was really brilliant. I had lots of shouts of ‘go banana’ and ‘top banana’ and ‘don’t slip up’.
“At one point I saw a couple of monkeys on the course, which made me run a lot quicker.”
Brighton and Hove mayor Bill Randall said: “It’s an absolutely great day.
“The half marathon is one of the defining events for the city and it’s a great day for the city.
“It’s a big community event that is growing all the time and a lot racers taking part are local.”
Sussex Beacon chair of trustees Simon Burgess said it would be the most money the charity has ever raised from the half marathon.
He added: “This is a record number of runners and the first year we have had the grandstand but we don’t want to grow it too fast, we want to make sure it is a safe and unique event.
“It feels great to be able to put on an event that also raises lots of money for other charities too. It really is one of the top running events in the south now.”
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