ORGANISERS are planning to make Bridlington’s Festival of Running one of the town’s major sporting events over the next five years.
The weekend of racing was held for the first time, and plans are in place to build upon its success.
Three junior runners from Bridlington tasted success and there was a thrilling and unusual beach race for spectators to enjoy.
Paul Roggeman, manager of East Yorkshire Events said,: “We are extremely pleased to get this new event off the ground so successfully and it really goes to show the demand for top class sporting events in East Yorkshire is growing stronger and stronger.
“Competitors from all over the North of England visited the town for the weekend, not only to take part in the Grand Yorkshire 10k but also to enjoy the wonderful evening entertainment at the Spa and also the unique ‘beat the clock’ beach race on the Sunday.
“The beach race captured the runner’s imagination and created a fantastic buzz of excitement.
“We recognise the huge potential of the Festival of Running, especially how it can attract people into the town and are looking forward to developing the weekend into one of the regions major sporting events over the next five years.”
After a hot, sunny Saturday morning, the skies clouded over, the temperature dropped and, apart from a fairly strong wind, conditions were ideal for running by the time the junior races got underway at 3pm.
The one--mile race was won by Shaun Foster (right) of Bridlington Road Runners, with girls’ winner, Bridlington-based Georgia Bingham of Kingston upon Hull AC, not far behind.
The two mile race was won by Georgia’s brother Connor Bingham – also of Kingston of Hull AC – with Emily Palmer being the first girl to finish.
250 runners lined up for the Grand Yorkshire 10K, which was started by former Great Britain Olympic marathon runner Tracey Morris.
The race began on North Marine Drive and took the runners out towards Flamborough, before returning to Bridlington and finishing on the promenade.
The outward leg of the course was generally uphill and into the wind, which made it a bit of a challenge, but made for fast running on the return leg.
Neither hills nor wind seemed to bother Mike Burrett of Leeds City AC who led from start to finish, winning the race in an impressive time of 33 minutes and 17 seconds.
A close battle for second place was eventually won by Duncan Clark of Abbey Runners, looking very sprightly for a man of 50, with Bridlington Town defender Danny Brunton swapping his football boots for running shoes, and making sure he was not ‘left back’ too far behind the front two.
Winner of the ladies race was Jane Halloran of Skyrac AC in a time of 41:35, with Sarah Vernau of Formula One Circuit Crew finishing second just a minute behind and Emma Weldon completing the top three.
The men’s and ladies team prizes were won by Quakers Running Club and Abbey Runners.
An informative and entertaining evening of events followed at The Spa.
A lively ‘question and answer’ session with Tracey Morris was followed by an interesting talk from top physio, Alison Rose, who explained how working on strength and conditioning and flexibility helps keep her superstar clients like Jessica Ennis free from injury
Co-host of the ‘Marathon Talk’ podcasts, Tom Williams, rounded off with a rousing talk on the importance of self-belief and a positive mental attitude to the performance of endurance athletes such as marathon runners.
The entertainment continued with a live performance from top Housemartins and Beautiful South tribute band, The Southmartins.
On Sunday morning, events kicked off with a Fun Run along the South Sands and promenade.
This was followed by the fiendish ‘Beat The Clock’ four-mile beach race.
The race clock was set to count down from 48 minutes and each runner had to decide how late to leave it before setting off.
The winner of the race would be the last runner to start the race and get back before the clock ticked down to 0:00.
John Ward of Abbey Runners judged his run to perfection, setting off last and getting back with just one second left on the clock, so winning the inaugural Ian Orum Trophy.
Sarah Vernau followed up her second place in the 10K by winning the ladies race.
Mark Etherington, from PB Events, who organised the festival alongside the council, said: “Everyone seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed their time in Bridlington, and left promising to come back next year and to bring their friends.”