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The St Albans Half Marathon was founded in 1982 by local businessman, Phil Gibson, who wanted to raise money for a hospital scanner following the death of his mother from breast cancer.
The first ever race was called the Mini Marathon and was open to runners, joggers and walkers. It attracted 1,300 competitors each paying £1.00 entry fee receiving a certificate on completion. First male home was local athlete Kirk Dumpleton and first female, local school teacher Irene Peatie.
Recording the results was a labour of love for Alan Woollaston who sat on the gantry above the finishing line speaking the numbers of the finishers into a tape recorder, then working into the evening with his son to feed them into the computer. The results were such a major task that the presentations had to be made the following day.
The event was deemed a great success. It was considered to be the biggest charity event ever seen in St Albans. It was hoped that it would become an annual event…...
Today we are proud to say that the race is now a regular date in the running calendar attracting athletes from all over the world. We have three of our local athletes who have competed in every race despite injury and pregnancy! They are Duncan Burgoyne, Tony Crocker and Paula Wise.
Since its conception the whole event has escalated to include fun runs for the children, 5K race and the Walking Half Marathon with numbers totalling over 6,000.
The long standing route for the half marathon on the Redbourn side of St Albans became unavailable after the Buncefield Oil Depot explosions and fire of December 2005. A subsequent route including a section through the central shopping area of St Albans (some runners commented on the hills!) was replaced by the course that took place in the pleasant lanes towards Bedmond. As of 2013 we announced our new course that is equally as rewarding!! Click here to download our new route map. It is marshalled by local groups of volunteers from schools and sporting organisations. More than 80 national as well as local charities have benefitted from the £780,000 raised. Charities to have benefitted are Aspire, BHF, Clic Sargent, Grove House, ABC Scanner Appeal, NSPCC, Willow Foundation and Everyman to name but a few. Our chosen charities for 2014 are Headway Hertfordshire and Renaissance: St Albans.
Included in the entrants now are a good number of faster runners and a new men's course record was set in June 2011 by David Michinson of 1:09.58 and remains unbeaten.
We had a record number of entries for the Half Marathon in 2014 after our route change and sold out for the first time ever! The overall event had 6,244 people signing up across the 5 events.
Half Marathon and 5k competitors have chip timing attached to their race number and all entrants still receive a medal and T shirt as well as a welcome ice lolly.
Despite all technology it seems that its still the simple things in life that give the most pleasure!!
If you have any interesting information, stories, memories or photos we would love to hear from you.
Please contact Katie Foweraker on 01727 819327 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org