With temperatures soaring above 23°C, Sunday’s Leeds Half Marathon turned out to be one of the hottest in it’s 31 year history. Despite the heat, defending champions Mohammed Abu-Rezeq and Hannah Oldroyd managed to improve upon their winning times in 2015 to successfully defend their titles, while the race once again recorded an impressive turnout.
As ever, thousands congregated to create a fantastic atmosphere for the 6,500 runners who made their way from The Headrow. The course then moved from the city centre, took in a section of the Ring Road and returned via Abbey Road and Kirkstall Road to finish in Cookridge Street alongside Millennium Square.
A number of recognisable Yorkshire names were in attendance, with Rhinos legends Keith Senior and Barrie McDermott, Thunderbirds movie star Dominic Colenso, and ex-England and Leeds United player Danny Mills, all competing.
Altrincham’s Abu-Rezeq, third at last month’s Wilmslow Half Marathon, held off the attentions of Yared Hagos (1:07:27) to cross the finish line in 1:07:12, some four minutes faster than his 2015 performance. Joseph Wade (1:12:02) rounded off the top trio of male athletes.
In the women’s competition, Hannah Oldroyd sliced six seconds off last year’s time to defend her title in 1:23:04, followed by Bethany Garland, who clocked 1:25:25 for second spot and Bethany Pudifoot who took third in 1:25:39.
The half marathon, part of the lasting legacy of the late campaigner Jane Tomlinson, is renowned for its fundraising pull with thousands of runners taking part for the event’s charity partners. Over £300,000 was raised last year and it is hoped the 2016 run will raise a similar amount for good causes.
Race director Charlie Tatman, from organisers Run For All, said: “We are delighted with the support shown for this year’s Plusnet Leeds Half Marathon. The runners’ efforts will support the work of some excellent charities and huge thanks must go to the many volunteers who gave their time to make the event such a success.”
Full results are available here.