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Carver Wolverhampton Half Marathon events 2018: Crowds cheer on 1,800 taking part

By Andrew Turton | Wolverhampton | News | Published: | Last Updated:

People ran, walked and cycled through the streets for this year's Carver Wolverhampton Half Marathon events.

The revamped event, which saw the marathon dropped to focus on shorter distances, was being held in the city today based at West Park.

It came after organisers decided to end the marathon due to falling numbers of participants.

More emphasis was placed on the half marathon event, creating extra spaces, the cycling race and 10k.

Five events made up the day including the half marathon, Banks's 10km run, Cousins' 20k and 10k cycle events, the Callprint Walk in the Park and Paycare Mini Marathon.

While it is the fastest athletes who take the spoils, others were applauded along the route as they battle gruelling personal challenges.

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The half marathon race was won by Dean Bate, while Paul Little and Tom Isherwood took second and third place respectively.

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Richard Carpenter was first over the finish line for the 10k race, while Andrew Lacon won the 20k cycle race.

Raj Kaur, who now lives in West Yorkshire but is originally from Wednesfield, was taking part in the half marathon with four members of her family to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation in memory of her dad 'Mac'.

The 37-year-old said: "We lost our dad to a heart attack so we wanted to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation, while my brother-in law is raising funds for the Anthony Nolan Trust.

"We grew up in Wolverhampton – so this is home. We may have gone our separate ways but we always try to come back together to Wolverhampton – so this event just seemed to special to miss.

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"It is also 10 years since we lost my dad, who was a footballer in Wednesfield – if you ask anyone in Wednesfield about Mac they would know him.

"Our target was to raise £1,000, but we have already raised around £1,500."

She was joined by Pally Singh, 44, and Sukhi Kaur, 42, who live in South Wales, Gurjit Singh, 38, from South Yorkshire, and Jujhar Mahal, 40, from Penn.

David Smith, originally from Sedgley, donned a Scooby Doo suit for the half marathon while raising funds for Tommy's – which researches into stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage - in memory of his grandson Theo, who was born stillborn four years ago.

The 49-year-old, who now lives in Chesterfield, has been running in the costume for over 20 years and has raised £79,000 for various charities.

He said: "I am running for Tommy's in memory of my grandson Theo – he was still born four years ago, it was his birthday earlier this week. I carry his name on my back in every race, as well as other angels who have passed. Whatever event I do, Theo and the angels come with me.

"People know I am barking mad! It gets very hot inside the costume but I had to come back to my hometown for this event.

"In 20 years I have raised £79,000 for charity – but my fundraising got more serious when Theo passed away – he gave me the motivation and inspiration."

Punsheel Bhalla, 49, from Wednesbury, was joined by his 19-year-old son Manik, brother Narander, 48, and nephew Rohan, 16, for the 20K cycle.

Mr Bhalla said: "We are raising funds for Birmingham Children's Hospital as my son, Manik, had open heart surgery there when he was nine-years-old – so it is a charity that means a lot to us.

"We are hoping to raise around £200 but we have done no training whatsoever for this event – but all four of us are determined to do it. If we put our mind to it we will do it – it is a mental thing."

Wolverhampton's Hugh Porter MBE, who joined others in the 20K cycle race, added: "This event is one of the jewels in the city's crown – it brings people together.

"Every year it gets a little bit tougher as I am getting a little bit older! I wanted to do it inside 40 minutes which I missed by about eight seconds so I was a little disappointed.

"I want to say a massive thank you to all the people who make this event a success – without the support of volunteers and sponsors it would be very difficult to put the event on."

The event this year was revamped after organisers decided to end the full marathon due to a fall in numbers of participants.

Wolverhampton Mayor, Councillor Phil Page, who started the races, said: "It is a fantastic event for Wolverhampton. It is great to see so many people and families taking part.

"Since its inception, the event has raised more than £400,000 for charities which is amazing. It seemed quite a turn-out this year and there were events for all categories – even the children."

Event organiser, Mary Harding, added: "The whole event went really well – it has definitely been a big success and everyone who took part enjoyed themselves. For all the events in total there was around 1,800 people taking part.

"A few people said it was a pity we weren't doing the full marathon this year, but we have taken the right decision and it is now about moving the event forward.

"It is now all set for next year as it is a great event for Wolverhampton."

Andrew Turton

By Andrew Turton
Digital Journalist

Digital journalist based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton. Interested in breaking news and social media. Get in touch on Twitter @aturton_star or andrew.turton@expressandstar.co.uk

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