COUNTY NEWS: Thousands take on half marathon

Scooby Doo, Darth Vader, Spider-Man and a few bananas took part in a Sussex half marathon this morning (February 25).

Darth Vader makes an appearance
Darth Vader makes an appearance

Thousands of charity runners joined elite racers taking on the 13.1-mile Brighton Half Marathon at 9am, as spectators lined the course cheering them on.

The first runners came in just after an hour, and in the men's race, it was a 'podium of Pauls'.

Paul Pollock from Northern Ireland came in first (1:06:57); four-time Brighton Half Marathon winner Paul Martelletti was second (1:08:16); and Paul Whittaker was third (1:08:34).

Darth Vader makes an appearance

In the women's race Izzy Coomber of Lewes Athletics Club was first (1:19:00); Sarah Bradbury from Farnham Runners - who was also celebrating her 45th birthday - was second (01:19:17); and Emily Proto of Shoreham, who runs with Arena 80 in Withdean came in third (1:21:28)

There were also thousands of charity runners, including 135 running for race organiser The Sussex Beacon, which provides support for those with HIV in Sussex.

Norman Cook, aka international DJ Fatboy Slim, ran for Young Epliepsy with his son Woody. Norman ran the 13.1-mile course in one hour 59, and Woody came in at one hour 55.

Woody said: "It was really fun, I reckon I could have done it faster."

Men's race winner Paul Pollock

Norman, who was running his seventh Brighton Half Marathon, said: "I'm very proud to be doing it with my son for his first year. Next year I don't think he'll run with his dad."

Olivia Weeks, 28, and James Coe, 31, from Brighton ran for stroke charity Say Aphasia.

Olivia said: "It was my first half marathon. It's a lovely day, I enjoyed it. It is a really good crowd."

On why she decided to take on the challenge, she said: "I watched it every year and I think it's so impressive, and I thought I'd love to do it.

Izzy Coomber of Lewes Athletics Club won the women's race

James, who has run 10 half marathons, said: "It was really good. Coming past the beach huts you think you're nearly there, but there's still a way to go."

Olivia said: "We're going for a burger and a pint now!"

Claudette Bishop, 44, from Oxford, ran the half marathon in two hours and seven minutes, and said: "I got a personal best, seven minutes faster than last year. I really enjoyed this year. The crowds are brilliant. They are everywhere, no matter where you are there's a crowd of people cheering you on."

A team from Carden Primary School, including the headteacher and parents, were running to help raise funds for the school, and there were 45 runners from the University of Sussex men's rugby team running to raise funds for the RFU Injured Players foundation after one of the players broke his back a few years ago.

Proud dad Norman Cook with his son Woody after the half marathon

The Brighton Half Marathon Wheelchair Race started just before 9am, and the Youth Race also saw youngsters take part in a one-mile race along the seafront.

Did you take part in the Brighton Half Marathon? Send your pictures to [email protected]

To find out more about the Brighton Half Marathon, click here.

Video by Eddie Mitchell.

Olivia Weeks and James Coe ran for stroke charity Say Aphasia
Scooby Doo joined the race