Runners earn their stripes in the Sheffield Half Marathon

Sheffield Half Marathon Fun Run Sunday Morning'Wheres Wally? He's crossing the finish line''12 May 2013'Image � Paul David Drabble

Sheffield Half Marathon Fun Run Sunday Morning'Wheres Wally? He's crossing the finish line''12 May 2013'Image � Paul David Drabble

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They ran in their thousands – young and old, some serious athletes, some simply determined to raise funds for good causes.

The annual Sheffield Half Marathon was back for its 32nd year yesterday, seeing more than 6,000 runners taking to the streets of the city.

But the 2013 event also marked an ending of sorts, as it was the last time runners would start and finish at Don Valley Stadium, which is set to close later this year.

Youngsters also got into the spirit of the occasion with the traditional 3km fun run, while taking the title of oldest participant was 88-year-old Eric Cooper, from Crookes in Sheffield, who stepped out on the shorter race to raise money for Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind.

Eric, who served in the Home Guard, wore his Sherwood Foresters regimental uniform as he made his way round the track.

He said: “I want to raise money for the society because they’ve put an appeal out for a mobile library. I also wanted to do it this year because it’s the last time at Don Valley.”

Insurance worker Laura Ellis, aged 28, from Ecclesfield, tackled the full half marathon in aid of British Heart Foundation. Laura was inspired by the death of her father Derrick, who suffered a fatal heart attack 18 months ago, aged 62.

Laura, who lost nine-and-a-half stone before the race and had a fundraising target of £850, said: “We raised money for the British Heart Foundation at dad’s funeral, and I knew I had to keep up the fight for other heart patients by continuing to raise money.”

John Burkhill, 74, Sheffield’s ‘Man with the Pram’ and supporter of charity Macmillan Cancer Support, strode off on the half-marathon course, proving he had bounced back from two recent strokes by taking part for the 30th time.

Liz Close, 39, from Renishaw near Sheffield, had brought along her five-year-old daughter Ruby for the fun run for the first time.

“There’s a brilliant atmosphere with everyone cheering all the runners on,” said Liz.

She said Ruby wanted to sign up as she always enjoys her PE lessons at Spinkhill Primary School.

“She likes running, she’s really got into it,” she added.

Promising young athlete Scott Nutter, 10, from Carlton, Barnsley, won the fun run.

His mum Sally said his achievement was ‘brilliant’,

The half marathon was won by Ben Fish, from Blackburn Harriers and Athletic Club, in a time of one hour, six minutes and 51 seconds, with Philip Hoole, from Rotherham Harriers, the top South Yorkshire runner, in third, completing the race in just more than one hour, nine minutes.

Julie Briscoe, from Wakefield Harriers, was the women’s winner, and Hallamshire Harriers’ Nicola Squires - last year’s female winner - came third.

News reporters from The Star were among the runners, with political reporter Richard Marsden finishing in one hour, 38 minutes and 10 seconds, and senior reporter Molly Lynch completing the route in one hour, 54 minutes and 33 seconds.

n For more pictures, see Star People. For a race report, see Full Time.