Cold hands but warm hearts for Bath Half
Left, Goughs team members Ross Phillips, Richard Bebb, Jonathan Shipton, Lucy Wilson, Heather Lawton, Nikki Capp and Debbie Allen with Emily Knight of Dorothy House
Wiltshire runners braved the cold on Sunday to compete in the 32nd Bath Half Marathon, with more than 30,000 people lining the streets to show their support.
The race is the biggest single-day fundraising event in the South West, with this year’s event expected to raise more than £1.5million.
Runners from across Wiltshire joined 12,000 other competitors to raise money for 80 different official charities and the Bath Half Marathon Fund.
Among the runners was Kingston Deverill mum Justine Womack, who ran on behalf of Auditory and Verbal UK, a charity that helped her profoundly deaf daughter Martha, seven, who lost her hearing at 14 months.
Mrs Womack, who ran with Penny Deeker from Mere, completed the race in 2hrs 51mins despite her knee giving way after nine miles.
She said: “There was quite a bit of drama as my knee just went at mile nine and I had to hobble for a couple of miles before running badly until the end. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish, but I couldn’t disappoint all the people who had sponsored me.
“I’ve raised over £1,000 for Auditory and Verbal UK, which is great and hopefully more people know about the fantastic work they do.”
Chief Inspector Sue Austin and Warminster and West-bury Inspector Lindsey Winter also completed the race with Andy Cooper, with the three runners raising almost £1,000 for Care Of Police Survivors (COPS).
Mr Cooper’s son, PC Dan Cooper, died when his patrol car crashed into a tree near Bradford on Avon in February 2010 while he was responding to a call for assistance.
Insp Winter said: “Andy had an amazing run and did extremely well finishing the race in 1hr 39mins, while Sue and I took a little longer but enjoyed every moment.
“The atmosphere was brilliant – and the highlight of the day was when we realised that we had almost doubled the amount we thought we would raise for COPS.”
Ken Marshall, of Avon Valley Runners, set a new personal best on Sunday by finishing in 1hr 34mins, raising more than £900 for Saxon RDA in Bradford on Avon.
Mr Marshall, 59, from Holt, said: “It was very cold, but I preferred that as the conditions were ideal for running. I was delighted to knock time off my previous best.”
Andrew Clark and his sisters Philippa and Vicky ran dressed as nurses in memory of their mum, Mary Clark, who lived in Sutton Veny for more than 20 years.
The siblings ran in aid of Dorothy House Hospice, which helped their mother before she died last October from a brain tumour.
Mr Clark, 31, from Chippenham, said: “We finished in 2hrs 22mins, and we took it at quite a leisurely pace so that we could finish together and really enjoy ourselves.
“The crowd was absolutely fantastic and we had really good support from friends and family.”
Westbury’s Bev Vincent, 36, also dressed up for the occasion, wearing a costume dog outfit as she ran her first half marathon on behalf of Happy Landings Animal Shelter, raising almost £600; while 3 Yorks commander Zac Stenning and his wife Sarah both completed the race in under two hours, as they ran for BLESMA, British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association, raising more than £10,000 for the charity.