sport

Ealing Half Marathon shows the town at its finest

The event is voted the best half marathon in the country and it's plain to see why

The Ealing community came together to celebrate the annual half marathon in the borough and the day was a qualified success.

The event is voted the best half marathon in the country and it's plain to see why. Everything is brilliantly organised, thanks to the volunteers that turn out over the weekend, but it also is relaxed as well so runners can enjoy the day, well as much as you can while running 13.1 miles. That point one is vitally important to the athletes, especially after running the first 13 miles!

It is also friendly for spectators who line the route from start to finish and a smiling face was always within view.

As we see in the London Marathon, runners of varied abilities take on the course from the competitive athletes who are looking to win to those raising money for charity to those who may have signed up as part of a drunken conversation and are just looking to get round in one piece.

As for the elite runners, it was double glory for Serpentine Running Club, based in central London as Jonathon Poole and Isabel Clark claimed victory in the male and female races.

Austin Roth followed Poole home in second place 16 seconds behind with Alex Milne claiming a podium place a further minute back.

Isobel Rea finished in second place amongst the ladies, six minutes behind Clark, with Mandy Dohren claiming the final spot on the podium.

The Ealing Eagles were another big supporter of the race and it was Ewan Fryatt who claimed the bragging rights in the club with the fastest time while Hannah Copeland was the fastest female.

But, whether you were at the front of the field, or bringing up the rear as Kabilraj and Tharsiga Sivasubramaniam did with times just under three hours, 40 minutes, anyone that finished deserved their medal.

Families were also present in Lammas Park, and the surrounding area, whether it was occupying their children in the play area while they waited for their loved ones or enjoying the sunshine and the variety of food on offer.

Given the recent terror attacks in this country, it would have been easy for the authorities to justify locking down Lammas Park, searching all the bags and people around the course.

The police presence struck the right balance by making you feel safe without it being in your face enhanced the enjoyment of the day.

Of course, Ealing businesses take the opportunity to showcase the best of Ealing and welcome the runners into their establishments.

The New Inn on St Mary's Road, over the road from St Mary's Church, was one such place. The welcoming Ealing pub, who have recovered from a fire in the kitchens earlier this year, has been a long-standing sponsor of the London Marathon and was also playing host to a beer festival. There was a delicious looking carvery available to runners and people looking for lunch.

West London brewer Fuller's were also supporting the event and a special limited time ale called 13.1, referring to the miles run in a half marathon not the alcoholic percentage (it was 4%) before anyone gets their hopes up, was available in their pubs.

Despite not being an ale drinker, it only felt appropriate to have a taste of it in The Castle Inn, a very welcoming pub with excellent staff on St Mary's Road opposite the University of West London, and it was a wheaty ale with a taste of hops. It's available for £4.30, while stocks last. The pub also took home the Ealing in Bloom trophy recently for its fantastic array of flowers out the front and in the garden.

The vibe around the whole town was one of enjoyment, although some residents were clearly unhappy at the road closures. But, on the whole, the Ealing Half Marathon is something to be celebrated and cherished.

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