Thousands turn out for Wolverhampton marathon

They walked, ran, pedalled and pushed their way around Wolverhampton as a bumper crowd of more than 2,000 people turned out for the city’s annual Carver marathon events.

They walked, ran, pedalled and pushed their way around Wolverhampton as a bumper crowd of more than 2,000 people turned out for the city’s annual Carver marathon events.

Some of those who took on the challege of the 26-mile run were able to complete it in just over two and a half hours, while for others it took a little longer.

But for all those who participated it was the taking part that counted.

As well as the traditional full and half marathon, this year people were able to complete a shorter 10k route called the Banks’ race. Those who prefered to make their way around the city by bike were able to try out the 20k cycle race. A wheelchair race was also held covering the same distance.

Youngsters were also able to join in the fun with a mini marathon.

Runners in the marathon powered through the streets to complete two laps of a 13-mile track around the city centre and surrounding areas, including Codsall, Bilbrook and Pendeford.

Henry Carver, boss of Carver Building Supplies which sponsors the event, said he was pleased to see such a high turnout.

“The marathon is always a popular event in the city but this year we had well over 2,000 people participating,” he said. “We haven’t had numbers like this since the recession hit, so I am very appreciative of everyone taking part and to everyone who has helped to make it a success.”

Mr Carver, who completed the 20k cycle race in under 40 minutes, said the route had been tough but enjoyable.

He added: “It was a difficult race as I expected it would be. It was hard to pedal forward with the wind blowing directly at me but I finished it which is the important thing.

“Now we will have to start thinking about next year’s race and how we can make it even better.”

The event has been running for 16 years and has made a name for itself as one of the biggest fundraisers on Wolverhampton’s calendar. Last year’s marathon raised more than £15,000 for charity and it is hoped that total will be matched or beaten for 2013.

Charities set to benefit from this year’s event are Compton Hospice, Midlands Air Ambulance and Sunnyside Kennels, as well as the mayoral charities.

Chairman of the event planning committee Mary Harding said: “We are really pleased to have a different mix of charities. This is the first time we have had an animal charity involved. We won’t know how much we have raised until the end of October, but we are hoping to get at least £20,000.”

The competitors set off from West Park yesterday in perfect weather conditions, with a slight breeze to cool them down, as they were cheered on by family, friends and colleagues.

Among those taking part were a group of five friends dressed as the Jamaican bobsledders from the film Cool Runnings. Stuart Bailey, aged 41, Penna Singh, 33-year-old Aaron Rogers, Andy Newman, 42, and his brother Ian Newman, 38, all from Wolverhampton, carried a sledge on their way round the 26-mile route.

Mr Newman, from Fordhouses, said the costumes were a bit of fun and a way to make the crowds smile, while raising money for a good cause.

“We have been raising money over the last year for Ronald McDonald House,” he said. So far we have collected more than £10,000, which we are all really pleased about. We didn’t do any training to prepare ourselves, however, which isn’t a good idea.”

Also dressed to amuse were Joe Lucas, Ross Evans and Ryan Clark, all aged 23 from Tettenhall, who took part in the 20k cycle ride. The trio turned up as Batman characters, having made their costumes the night before. Mr Lucas said: “We decided at the last minute that we would dress up and chose Batman as our theme.”

Former cycling world champion Hugh Porter, Wolverhampton South West MP Paul Uppal and Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findley also took part in the cycle ride.

Mr Porter, who finished 23rd in the race, said: “The marathon is a wonderful event to be a part of.

“It has been wonderful to see members of the community come together to raise money for some very worthy causes. I enjoyed taking part, although it was difficult at times to maintain the pace of some of the faster riders.”

Among family groups taking part were Kelly Hartshorne, 32, from Telford, who took part in the junior event with her children Charlotte, aged six and one-year-old Jack. Her 33-year-old husband Carl took part in the full marathon.

She said: “Carl runs a lot of marathons and we usually go along to support him, so it’s really nice that the children were able to take part in the mini marathon too.”

One runner who was determined to take part in this year’s half marathon was 76-year-old John Dawson.

He was given the all-clear after battling bowel cancer last year and said he was pleased he was able to compete in this year’s event with his friend Simon Beresford, aged 45.

He said: “I have had a bit of a rough time over the last few years and have overcome cancer twice now. I have always enjoyed running and I am pleased that I was able to get out there and do my best.”

Wolverhampton Mayor, Councillor Milkinder Jaspal, said everybody involved in the marathon had done the city proud. “The marathon is one of the key events in the city every year and has really helped to put Wolverhampton on the map,” he said. “Each year it attracts more and more people and I am so pleased we had such a high turnout.”

Winner of the Banks’ 10K race was Royal Mail manager Ross Jones, 33, of Fordhouses, who completed the course in under an hour. 

Tessa Clarke, 25, of Coseley, was the women’s 10K race winner. 

The winner of the half marathon was Ian McBride, 30, who travelled from Oldham to compete. Audrey Wilson, of Wolverhampton, was the women’s half-marathon winner for the second year in a row.

Marathon winner Peter Stockdale of Loughborough completed the 26-mile course in two hours and 42 minutes. Deborah Thomas, 32, from Stoke-on-Trent was the women’s 26-mile marathon winner.

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