Newport Half Marathon hailed "outstanding success"
5:06pm Sunday 3rd March 2013 in News
THE first City of Newport Half Marathon was hailed an "outstanding success" after 1,000 people defied the early morning cold today to run and raise funds for a range of charities.
The St David's Hospice Care-organised event attracted entries from across South Wales and into the west of England, with the fast, flat course taking runners from Newport's International Sports Village and back via the city's riverfront path and the cycleway to Caerleon.
"We've had absolutely brilliant support from the business community, and our partners, local running clubs, volunteers, marshalls. It's the first City of Newport Half Marathon and it's been an outstanding success," said Kris Broome, director of fundraising and lottery with St David's Hospice Care.
"We benefit from the entry fees and people who care to run for us, but people have also been able to raise money for the charity of their choice.
"But it has also been about the long term future plan for the event, about establishing the event in Newport and I think we've laid very strong foundations."
St David's Hospice Care chief executive Emma Saysell, who had a busy morning helping provide bacon rolls to those who wanted warming up after an overnight frost, said event sponsors and partners had played a vital role in its success.
"They've helped make it the fantastic day it has been, and it's been a long time in the planning," she said.
"But it's been amazing to see the amount of people taking part and those out supporting them."
Entries for the event - started by Olympic 4x100 metres gold medallist and event partner Darren Campbell - were capped at 1,000, but it is hoped to be to increase that in future.
The first man home was Ryan McFlynn, of Fairwater Runners, Cwmbran, and Gwent's first woman home was 19-year-old Emma Wookey, of Beechwood, Newport, who is a member of Lliswerry Runners, second to a woman from Bristol who was first woman overall.
Newport East AM, John Griffiths, who finished in a time of 1 hour 50 minutes, hailed the event as a "great occasion" for the city.
Mr Griffiths, said: "I thought it was just such a great occasion for Newport and for St David’s Hospice.
"It was great to see people out being active and, although it might sound a strange thing to say about running a half marathon, really enjoying themselves."
It is perhaps an unususual scene to see our politicians being cheered through the streets but Mr Griffiths said the support was fantastic.
"The atmosphere was brilliant,’ the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development said.
"There were people lining the route cheering us on and there was even a guy playing the bagpipes under the fly-over as we went out of the city. I just hope now it goes from strength to strength," he said.
And would Newport East MP Jessica Morden be joining him for next year’s run? "That’s my goal for next year," he laughed.