The Big Half Marathon

The Vitality Big Half (Including Kent AC Half Marathon Championships)


An impressive number of Kent AC runners competed in the second Vitality Big half last Sunday. The race that was first put on last year follows a good part of the London Marathon route. However, for the half marathon the race starts at Tower Bridge and finishes at Greenwich alongside the Cutty Sark. There can’t have been many clubs who had as many runners taking part in the event. For us it was a great cross section of the club. There were men and women well represented from the club’s different training groups, and those, shall we say, at different ends of the age spectrum.

The race saw some tremendous results for our runners. This was despite them having to contend with tough conditions; rain to start and then it was extremely blustery throughout the race.  Although I’m going to concentrate on the club championships, it should be said that there were a whole host of other good runs.

In the men’s race, we had two runners break seventy minutes – Dave Morgan (69:05) and just nipping inside seventy, Pete Lighting (69:54).  Our third placer in the men’s race was Gareth Anderson. Now working in the States but making a welcome (vacation break) return. His PB (71:30) clearly indicates he’s been putting in the miles while he’s been away.  There followed a steady stream of Kent AC men who broke 75 minutes, one of them being the first V40 and that was Tom Marshall.  He ran an excellent 73:17. Tom has recently joined us from Dulwich and looks like being a real asset to our men’s team. 

You know he means business when a pair of lairy shorts are donned. Yes, Stuart Beaney had the bright orange shorts on and he was the second V40 (74:36).  And of course, Stuart likes to let people know he’s actually 45. It was another V45, Will Pitt (76:42) who claimed third place honours. In the V50 stakes with 2nd claimers eligible, Jonathan Ratcliffe, long -time friend of the club, and regular for us in the Assembly League was first in this category. It was by some margin – not surprising as his time meant he was actually the third V50 in the whole race (77:00). Second V50 was Mick Barlow undoubtedly the person in the race who has been a member for longest – in the region of thirty- five years. After long serving Mick, the third V50 was Mark Anderson.

Maybe because he hasn’t got so many miles on the clock, John Barron goes on improving.  His admirable (93:10) was a PB and saw him finish a fine third in his age category in the race. Running a very good age graded time was another new recruit from Dulwich, Gary Sullivan. He ran (97.37) for a strong second place in the V60’s. In third spot for the V 60’s was Eric Glover.

Our women had a set of excellent results. And while we had two men breaking seventy minutes, my call for the run of the day would probably be between two of our women – Jen Smith and Nicky Hayes. They both ran superbly and it’s a difficult one to say which would be rated the highest. The fact that Nicky’s run meant she was actually first in her age group in the whole race might just swing it. Moreover, my on-course reporter told me Nicky was knocked to the ground at mile 11, so her impressive time of 96: 36 might have even been a bit quicker.  Following the rules we have applied, Jen actually figures twice in the medal allocation. She was the second Kent woman home, but also first in the W35 category.

Our first Kent AC finisher was Sarah Hanley with an excellent time 84:31. Jen Smith 84:33 was a very close up second and like Sarah recorded a PB. Our third place overall went to Georgina Wiley, like so many in the race also recording a PB (87:52). Fractionally, it could have been a bit quicker. She momentarily stopped when feeling a bit queasy a mile from the end. Coincidentally your correspondent was just peeping back from behind a tree at Deptford High Street when she stopped. I enquired about her health but then she was on her way!

In accordance with rules we have applied in our championships, Jen Smith was the second overall, but also first in the W35 category. The way the rules are interpreted means although Jen was the winner in the age group section, her high quality run that saw her finish ahead of all but one other Kent runner means she qualifies for the senior or as we are calling it, an overall medal. That meant Eliza Grant who had a strong run, and like so many others, a PB, misses out on a medal.  Second place in the W35 was Victoria Buck. Her impressive time 88:45 meant she was ninth in her age group in the race. Securing third place in this section was Sharon Stanley.  Just in case people were wondering if they have looked on the Vitality site results and seen that the likes of Victoria are listed as F40-44, for our championship purposes, she comes under the category of W35. Moving on to the W45, we again had some first -class performances. They were headed by Kate Williams (98:55). Running under an alias some will have noted. Is there a reason for this (we should be told!). Anyway, just two minutes down on Kate was Andrea Barbour. Yet another PB. And the third medalist here was Claire Martin.

As mentioned earlier, possibly the run of the day came from Nicky Hayes in the W55 section. It will be noted she was quicker than the women in the younger age group, but here the way the rules apply she just has the one medal- with the added gloss of being achieved with such an excellent time.  In second spot was Jaqueline Francis. And although listed as in the 65 category, relative newcomer to the club, Miki Jablkowska takes third in the W55 standings.

In addition to some of the outstanding runs in our own championship, there were a lot of other Kent AC runners who excelled. Aside from those in the championships who registered a PB, a look at the Vitality site will show the other club members who recorded a PB. If you go to the results on the site you can just put in Kent AC and see the other impressive runs.

Congratulations go to our medalist, but also to all the other Kent AC runners who put it some praiseworthy performances.

At the time of writing, I should emphasize that the results of our championships are provisional. If any changes come to light or are required there will be a further post.


Snr/Overall1.Dave Morgan: 2. Pete Lighting: 3. Gareth Anderson

V40 1. Tom Marshall: 2. Stuart Beaney : 3. Will Pitt

V50 1. Jonathan Ratcliffe (2nd Claim): 2. Mick Barlow: 3. Mark Anderson

V60 1. John Barron: 2. Gary Sullivan: 3. Eric Glover



1.Sarah Hanley: 2 Jen Smith: 3. Georgina Wiley

W35 1. Jen Smith: 2. Victoria Buck: 3. Sharon Stanley

W45 1. Kate Williams :2. Andrea Barbour: 3. Claire Martin

W55 1. Nick Hayes: 2. Jaqueline Francis: 3. Miki Jablokowska

Full Results appear on both the Vitality site and Power of 10 ���

Our first Kent AC finisher was Sarah Hanley with an excellent time 84:31.