5,000 on their marks for Sheffield half marathon

Jason Ward.
Jason Ward.

More than 5,000 runners are getting set for the Sheffield Half Marathon on Sunday.

For the first time in the event’s history, the 13.1-mile race will start at Attercliffe Common and end at Don Valley Bowl.

The race will begin officially at 9am when quiz brain Mark Labbett from The Chase fires the starting pistol.

Runners will take a different route to previous years, running through iconic Sheffield areas including Victoria Quays, Bramall Lane and Ecclesall Road.

The race’s 2009 winner, Jason Ward, who was born in Sheffield, says he hopes to break his previous record of one hour five minutes, which he set in 2004.

He said: “I set targets, like completing the Sheffield Half Marathon, to motivate myself to get fit.

“I started running competitively because I’m motivated by winning and I get a great buzz out of being the best. To win and get a good course record under my belt is this year’s goal.

“I am training by covering about 80 to 100 miles a week as well as doing two or three speed sessions. After taking a few years out of competitive running to focus on work, I now want to return to regain my 2009 title. With the race starting and finishing at a new venue for the first time, it’s a great opportunity to set a course record!”

The grassed area at Don Valley Bowl will feature a charity village and information tent on the day, and at iceSheffield next door people can skate for £1.

There will also be a fairground with a helter skelter and rides for children. Stalls will be serving coffee, crepes and breakfast for spectators and runners.

Coun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for sport, said: “The Sheffield Half Marathon has become such an iconic sporting event for the city. The atmosphere is always fantastic and we hope to see more people than ever before either taking part or cheering on the runners.”

Bus drivers hoping to make good time in team challenge

Four bus drivers will leave their seats behind the wheel to run the Sheffield Half.

The Stagecoach Yorkshire runners – Colin Goddard, Lee Grant, Nicholas Lingard and Martin Coney, who are all from the company’s Barnsley depot – are running to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

All team members compete over the half marathon distance and the accumulated time of the three fastest runners comprises the team score. The fastest team wins.

Colin said: “We’re really excited to be taking part in the corporate challenge and it’s been a great way to get a few of us together to work towards something outside of work. We’ve been training hard and can’t wait to take part.”

Ashley doing it for grandparents

A Londoner will return to the city which played a huge part in the romance between his grandma and grandpa to run the Sheffield Half Marathon.

Ashley Wright, aged 29, will run for the Myasthenia Gravis Association in memory of his grandfather John, who died in January.

John met future wife, Mollie, on holiday 75 years ago.

John’s family home in London was called Nether Edge – and Mollie had grown up in Nether Edge, Sheffield.

Ashley said: “As I run down Ecclesall Road with Nether Edge firmly in my view it will doubtless evoke a lot of emotion in me.”

Caborn raising cash for appeal

Former sports minister Richard Caborn is gearing up to help raise cash for the £150,000 Women of Steel memorial.

The former Sheffield Central MP, who turned 70 this year, has signed up for his 12th Sheffield Half Marathon.

Richard said: “The project will celebrate a special group of women and their exceptional work ethic, stamina and bravery in the steel factories during both world wars.”