We are pleased that despite a difficult external situation, the Dartford Half Marathon successfully took place in its 44th consecutive year. The race is particularly important for our club, and we are pleased to share some reflections of the event in this report.
After picking up hundreds of bottles of water and countless post-race brownies on the day before the race, we were sitting at the clubhouse wondering if we’d even have a race for Sunday. Several volunteers had pulled out due to international directives from their host organisations while others were making clear their objections on social media. Backed by government advice at the time and that of UK Athletics, we proceeded with the race after some final desperate pleas for helpers.
It was a good decision; Sunday’s race was one of the finest we’ve ever put on with runners both unanimous and generous in their praise for the event. It’s fair to say that none of the 43 preceding years had taken place amidst such unnerving circumstances yet our run of 44 consecutive years remains unbroken. For this, we have numerous parties to thank.
The marshals, water station and car park volunteers stood for hours in cold weather (a refreshingly Covid-19 free breeze we hope!) enthusiastically cheering on the runners at dozens of strategic points throughout the course. Race HQ was manned by some last-minute helpers at the baggage tent, handing out the medals and taking on-the-day entries.
Our partners at Nice Work have provided tremendously professional management that allows us to promote our race safe in the knowledge that they have taken good care of the numerous important steps that go into putting on a race along 13 miles of public roads. They even managed to bring along some toilet rolls (I wonder what we’ll think of that reading this back in a few years’ time). Our main race sponsor was Fox Estate Agents who were present to hand out some winners’ prizes on the day, albeit without a handshake! We hope we can add some value back to them in return for the generous patronage they have offered to us.
While the race was taking place, McDonald’s Dartford organised a fun-run of up to one mile on the track. They also provided the post-race refreshments and water for the main race and have done for several years now. Everyone seemed to have a great time and we’re grateful for the continued support McDonald’s Dartford have offered us.
The venue was excellent too with the blue track even featuring in a particularly classy medal that was an immediate hit with those that finished our “undulating” 13.1-miler. We are keen to thank our friends at CPA for providing the venue and for having put in the effort to accommodate our club’s most important annual event.
The main race was won in one of the fastest times we’ve seen with John Payne clocking 1:12:07 and Harriette Woolley the first female finisher in 1:28:16. There were 697 finishers and almost 1000 entries which is one of the highest totals since 2016.
Some final words from our Race Director:
“The race to me has always been a community event special to Dartford , it’s not always about the athletes that run the quickest times it’s about that last runner home to complete what is a challenging course and have that sense of achievement is always something special.Marcus Graves, Dartford Half Marathon Race Direcor
The outpouring of emotion as race director is a special moment knowing that the last runner is safe home makes it all worthwhile so here’s to next year”
More information, including full results and links to our social profiles: https://dartfordhalfmarathon.co.uk/
Report credit: Steven Caller