A colourful wave of around 9,000 fundraising runners has lit up the streets of York for the third Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon today.
Fine and crisp weather greeted competitors who were pounding the tarmac today as they tackled a 26.2mile course that winded through York and the surrounding villages.
The event, which raises million of pounds for charity every year, also featured a 10mile course for the first time which was enjoyed by around 2,000 people.
Vocal supporters lined the route and cheered on everyone from the gazelle-like elite athletes to fancy dress fundraisers moonlighting as the likes of Wonderwoman, Elsa from Disney’s Frozen and clowns in aid of various charities.
The marathon course started and finished at the University of York, taking in York Minster, Stockton on the Forest, Sand Hutton, Stamford Bridge, Holtby, Murton and Tang Hall along the way.
Cyclists from Wakefield Triathlon Club helped to lead the competitors out, with wheelchair athletes setting off before the elite and charity runners at around 9.30am.
Super League legend Keith Senior, who was admittedly less than fresh from celebrating Leeds Rhinos’ Grand Final victory on Sunday, was among the 7,000 who took on the full marathon.
The 38-year-old was among the tens of thousands to make it to Old Trafford where Leeds scored a historic treble with a 22-20 victory over Wigan Warriors.
He said: “It was a great win for the Rhinos last night, I was at Old Trafford and it was superb but I was stuck in traffic all night so I didn’t get to bed until late. I was up nice and early this morning for the marathon though.
“It’s a great marathon, I’ve done it for the last two years in York, and with it being close to Leeds you get a lot of support – it gives you that extra impetus to keep going.”
Edwin Korir won the men’s full marathon in two hours 15 minutes and six seconds, while Jo Zakrzewski was the first female marathon runner to cross the line, doing so in two hours 48 minutes and 48 seconds.
The Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon is staged by Marathon Yorkshire Ltd, a sister organisation to Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All. The charity is a lasting legacy to the late Leeds fundraiser of the same name who raised almost £2million for charity despite being diagnosed with incurable cancer.
Her husband Mike Tomlinson took on the 10mile route this year. He said: “I’m happy with my time for 54 – it’s not easy to keep the legs going.
“It makes me proud the fact that this is a Yorkshire marathon. There is a great Yorkshire feel, it’s situated in York, there’s great scenery and brilliant banter – it’s typically Yorkshire.”
BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration, who also ran the shorter distance, said: “It’s become part of the fabric of the Yorkshire year, it’s so well organised and the atmosphere when you get round makes all the pain worthwhile.”
Other familiar names to take part included Look North’s Nicola Rees, former Olympian Emily Freeman and Educating Yorkshire star Matthew Burton.
He said: “There’s an incredible atmosphere here compared to training runs which can be quite lonely - there is a real sense of togetherness here.”