Thousands brave cold for ‘Big Half’ in Greenwich


The Cutty Sark provided the perfect picture card finish for the inaugural Big Half marathon on Sunday.

More than 11,000 runners braved the cold to get to the start at Tower Bridge, and, 13.1-miles later, they crossed the finishing line beside the iconic Cutty Sark in Greenwich town centre.

British Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah won the men’s elite race in 61mins 40secs, while Charlotte Purdue took the honours in the women’s race in 70mins 29secs.

First across the finish line were the men’s wheelchair racers, with Switzerland’s Marcel Hug beating his long-time rival David Weir into second place. Hug won in 51mins 36secs.

Three South London boroughs hosted the event,  Lewisham, Greenwich and Southwark.

Former Charlton Athletic manager Chris Powell finished in 1hr 58 mins 23 secs.

As well as the half-marathon itself, Greenwich Park hosted the Big Festival, aimed at celebrating London’s diverse culture through food, music and workshops.

Claire Webb, 34 – 1 hour 45 minutes

“We run with a running club in Nunhead. I’m very proud of our time. We feel exhausted and relieved it is over.

“The last three miles were hard, for me anyway. We’re heading for a well-deserved pint.”

Matt Guy, 33 – 1.45 minutes

“We were running with a friend of ours, Dave Creegan, who is running the Marathon De Sables for the West Ham Foundation.

“So we were supporting him and raising a bit of money for that.”

Johnny Warren, 49, East London – 1 hour 41 minutes

“I did the half-marathon in 2010 and did that in 1 hour 39 minutes. I’m 50 this year, so I am happy with this.

“When you’re out there on your own it’s easy to give up but when you’ve got people rooting for you and cheering you on – they’ve made the effort to come out here in the cold, so it spurs you on.”

Sarah Middleton, 29 – 1 hour 54 minutes

“We’re getting married in September. It was a good test for us. There was a woman running with a dog and the crowds would go crazy for it. I started pretending it was for me.”

Lawrence McCann, 27 – 1 hour 40 minutes

“Living in Greenwich it’s nice to finish where you live.

“The atmosphere was great, especially at the end coming along the creek.”

Ashley Winn, 32 –1 hour 47 minutes

“I feel terrible. I’ve not done it for two years, my best is 1 hour 29 minutes.

“I was aiming for 1 hour 45 minutes.

“There was a good atmosphere all the way”

Harvey Briggs, 22 – 1 hour 40 minutes

“Preparation couldn’t have been worse. About three weeks ago we did 13.5 miles and since then I have developed runner’s knee. Honestly I haven’t been able to run for three weeks, so it’s a result to get round today. We were begging for it not to be on.

“I’m running the London Marathon and raising money for Action for Kids, this was part of that process. The aim is to raise £2,000.”

Peter Elkan, 23 – 1 hour 49 minutes

“The little back streets between miles eight and Nine were lovely. I kind of lost my bearings, though. Nice pubs. Think we’re actually going to go and find one now.” It’s good to see people coming out, even though it has been such horrible weather.”

Jonathan Cox, 57, Laura Cox, 25, Vicky Cox, 25, Ed Cox, 31 Lindsay Cox, 27 – All from Birmingham – 2 hours 4 minutes

Jonathan Cox said: “We crossed the line all together holding hands. We were running for Marie Curie because they were amazing with their grandfather.  “We were right behind Mo at one stage, but we had to let him go ahead.”

Laura Cox said: “The plans now are to go and open a bottle of Champagne.”


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