Wednesday, 6pm: Organisers of the 2012 Perkins Great Eastern Run have declared this year’s event a “tremendous” success, after attracting record numbers.
Thousands of people, aged old and young and from across the globe, came together on The Embankment for the annual event on Sunday (14 October).
Organisers had announced a record number of entrants for the half-marathon - some 4,250 people - more than a week before it was due to be held and it took in excess of nine minutes for the final total of 4,400 to pass through the start gate once the race had begun.
Some 890 more had signed up to take part in the 5km fun run, with Smurfs, Disney characters and superheroes among their number thanks to spirited fancy dress, with the wheelchair race adding more 10 competitors to the event still.
A new course saw participants start and finish on The Embankment, where stalls and entertainment helped provide a sense of occasion for the event.
Head of operations at Peterborough City Council Annette Joyce said: “The race was a tremendous success and key to this success are the volunteers and sponsors, as without their dedication and support there would be no Perkins Great Eastern Run.
“The new route has been well received by elite runners and novice runners alike and more spectators lined the streets than ever before.
“We had entries from all over the UK and abroad including Italy, France, Sweden, America and Hong Kong and the entertainment and stalls we put on The Embankment provided the ideal backdrop for a great family event.
“We are still receiving feedback from runners and running governing bodies as to how they rated the new route. It is likely the route will remain the same but that decision will be made in the coming months.”
The races were started by former Olympic champion Sally Gunnell, who had attended the event in 2011.
Speaking to the PT, she credited the event for having a “lovely atmosphere”.
She said: “It’s lovely to come back again and see how the event has grown from last year.”
Her message to readers was if they had felt inspired by the runners, to act on it.
She said: “Maybe there are some people watching who might say ‘I want to do it next year’. I would say to them ‘get out there, set yourself a challenge’.”
A vast number of good causes benefitted from the event, bringing to light many inspirational stories.
Among the youngest to complete the fun run was Maya Ratcliffe, who had celebrated her first birthday two days earlier.
She was pushed along the course in a buggy by mum Fay Dovey (25), from Whittlesey.
Maya has been diagnosed with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and her mum was part of a team of family members raising funds for Shine, a charity which helps families and individuals affected by the conditions.
Of the course, she said: “It’s tiring and trying to control this buggy makes it 10 times harder.
“I’m just really proud that we have done it and we have raised money for Shine.”
Jade Hill (13), from Holbeach, was part of three generations of the same family raising funds for the Jigsaw Team, a charity based in West Yorkshire which provides care to children and young people with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses.
Their efforts were in memory of her late relative Emilia, daughter of former Crowland man Richard Clarke (33) and wife Sarah (29), who died before reaching her first birthday after being diagnosed with Zellweger syndrome.
Jade said: “We are all proud to be doing something to help improve and make things better for the Jigsaw Team.”
Liz Ebbage (51), from Glinton, was part of a team raising funds for the Peterborough branch of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
Liz, who is totally blind, completed the course with the assistance of her guide dog Meg, and was also joined by husband and branch treasurer Roger (52), and branch secretary Fran Green (49), from Werrington.
Liz described the event as “great”, as a “nice brisk walk on a Sunday morning”.
Clare John-Smith (42), from Spalding, completed the 5km course on a pair of crutches due to a spinal condition which limits feeling in her legs.
As part of a group from the Holbeach and District Ladies Circle, she was raising funds for The Miscarriage Association - the national president’s chosen charity the year.
She said she found the course “really tough” but the support from her fellow members and her wish to raise awareness of the charity kept her going.
She said: “I really wanted to get The Miscarriage Association known.”
Chief executive of the city council Gillian Beasley, who was among a group of familiar faces from Town Hall running for the Mayor’s charities, paid tribute to the volunteers, sponsors and all those who had supported the event.
She said: “That kind of community support is worth its weight in gold. It’s a proud day for Peterborough.”
The first 25 over the finish line
Pos Time Name Club
1 62:25 Luka Rotich Kenya
2 63:01 Benson Olenakeri Kenya
3 65:46 Paul Martelletti Victoria Park
4 67:02 Michael Skinner Blackheath
5 68:29 Martin Williams Tipton
6 69:14 Chris Greenwood Kent
7 69:36 Paul Marchant Rothwell
8 69:47 Jason Cherriman Orpington
9 69:54 Adrian Mussett Colchester
10 70:12 Wayne Lincoln City of Norwich
11 70:15 Steven Robinson Bedford
12 70:36 Mark Bruce Loughborough Uni
13 71:09 Alex Tate Muddy Mucky Munkeys
14 71:16 James Rodgers Clevedon
15 71:29 Gary Blackman Bournville
16 71:32 John Pike Newham
17 72:06 Craig Holgate Ely
18 72:29 Emilly Biwott Kenya
19 72:33 Tom Bracegirdle Muddy Munkeys
20 72:46 Riel Carol Clapham Chasers
21 72:54 Agnes Chebet Kenya
22 72:54 Jeff Prest Trafford
23 73:07 Darren Preston BRJ Huntingdon
24 73:09 Amy Whitehead Notts AC
25 73:23 Dave Morgan Serpentine