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Video/Gallery: Record number of runners take part in Larking Gowen Ipswich Half Marathon at Christchurch Park

PUBLISHED: 20:18 21 September 2014 | UPDATED: 20:35 21 September 2014

A fundraiser dressed up as web-slinging super-hero Spider-man takes part in the Ipswich Half Marathon.

A fundraiser dressed up as web-slinging super-hero Spider-man takes part in the Ipswich Half Marathon.

A record number of runners took part in the Larking Gowen Ipswich Half Marathon today as hundreds of fundraisers and supporters gathered at Christchurch Park.

See our photo gallery here.

From crime-fighting super heroes to keen amateur racers defending their titles, a total of 1,754 participants took on the annual 13.1 mile challenge, which is growing in popularity and professionalism since its 2009 inception.

They were faced with a simplified but more undulating course, taking them for the first time through a section of the town centre before returning to Christchurch Mansion.

And it proved to be benign conditions for runners aged 42. Adrian Mussett, the 2009 and 2010 winner who has missed the last three races, stormed to victory in the men’s race. The 42-year-old clocked a time of 1hr 12mins 2secs.

The Larking Gowen Ipsiwch Half Marathon in Christchurch Park.  
Runners cross the CornhillThe Larking Gowen Ipsiwch Half Marathon in Christchurch Park. Runners cross the Cornhill

His Colchester Harriers team-mate, Carwyn Jones, finished second, four minutes and 11 seconds behind.

Mr Mussett said: “I am really pleased. The course is a massive improvement from before and the support was brilliant.”

He was joined in the winners’ enclosure by Odette Robson, also 42. The Saint Edmund Pacers runner, of Lavenham, retained her crown in the women’s race with a time of 1hr 22mins 29secs.

She said: “I was not expecting to retain my title. It was a challenging course but we had perfect weather.”

Police and ambulance officials were dotted around the course – but any trouble was kept at bay by the following runners dressed as super-heroes: Sam Foster - Batman, Darren Lewis - Spiderman, Steve Collins - Captain America, Alex Reilly - Robin, Mel Sherman - Superwoman and Adrian Fairburn - Green Lantern.

They were raising cash for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).

Mr Collins said: “The was very well-organised and much fun. The spectators were in great form and the marshals did a fabulous job.

“So far we have raised nearly £1,300. There are some offline donations that will take us over £1,300.”

To donate online, visit: www.justgiving.co.uk/ipswichsuperheroes.

Elsewhere, Steve Gill, who grew up in Bury St Edmunds and lives in Oxfordshire, is running a half-marathon every week over a year for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

He is attempting to beat the world record, and the Ipswich Half Marathon was number 22.

The 45-year-old said: “I started in April and have been to places like Germany to race. I’m going off to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks’ time.

“I am supporting the RNLI because of an emotional family connection in Ireland.”

He has raised more than £1,000 so far. To donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/SteveGill52in52.

Meanwhile, Catherine Abbott, of Ipswich, was running her fourth Ipswich Half Marathon.

The 43-year-old said: “It is a fantastic race and everyone comes together to either take part or support the runners.”

The event was organised by Ipswich Jaffa running club, and helped by Ipswich Borough Council.

Race director Carl Ashton, of Ipswich Jaffa, said: “It is going from strength to strength and each year we try to reinvest in the race. We had the inflatable arch (at the start/finish line) for the first time this year.

“We have also been more aggressive with our social media. The number of people who follow us on Twitter has gone from around 70 to around 500 in the space of nine months.

“We have all been working hard over the last few weeks and I would like to thank the 120 volunteer marshals and Ipswich Borough Council for helping to organise a great event.”

A GO Run for Fun event was also held for children.

Jonathan Briggs, business development manager at Larking Gowen, said: “The race brings the whole community together and there was an amazing turnout.”

Former European and Commonwealth Games 110m hurdles champion Andy Turner, who helped launch the event, said: “It was great so many people of Ipswich supported the event. It builds on from the London Olympic legacy.”

Ipswich Mayor Bill Quinton sounded the hooter to start the race at 10am. He said: “I have been very impressed by how professional the set-up is. It is a brilliant event which brings out the whole community.”

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