PICTURE SLIDESHOW: Thousands line streets for ‘fantastic’ event

Scores of people lined the streets and packed out Queen’s Park this morning as part of the much-anticipated Chesterfield and Derbyshire Marathon.

More than 1,000 people took part in the long distance running event, which started in Queen’s Park and saw runners travel 26 miles around the town.

Gareth Lowe, the winner of the Chesterfield and Derbyshire full marathon with his medal, picture by Dan Westwell

Gareth Lowe, the winner of the Chesterfield and Derbyshire full marathon with his medal, picture by Dan Westwell

Participants were greeted by jubilant crowds as they returned to the finish line on the Queen’s Park cricket pavilion.

Runners took part in either a full or half marathon, while there was also a group relay event and a fun run.

Money raised from the marathon will go to Chesterfield-based charity Kids ‘N’ Cancer, with marathon organiser and charity chairman Mike Hyman also pledging that 20 per cent of money raised will go to good causes in the town.

Speaking after the event, Mike thanked Chesterfield residents for making the event such a great day, before going on to say that next year’s event would be bigger and better.

The crowd cheer as the winner approaches the finish line.  Picture by Dan Westwell.

The crowd cheer as the winner approaches the finish line. Picture by Dan Westwell.

He added: “It’s been an amazing day, I am quite taken-a-back by the amount of people that are here, all the things that are happening are absolutely great for the town.

“It’s going to be an annual event, today proves that Chesterfield can manage an event like this, it’s absolutely amazing.

“I think the idea is to make the Chesterfield marathon one of the biggest and best marathons in the country.

“When you talk about bringing business to the town, we have had people come here from all over the country, all staying here and that is what boosts the economy, bringing people to the town.

“This helps local businesses to prosper, it fills pubs, restaurants and bars.

“I think we have shocked the town really in terms of what they have seen today.”

Also speaking after the event, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said the event is both important and fantastic for the town.

He added: “From a sporting perspective it’s another feather in our cap.

“A lot of people will have come and seen what we have to offer in our town both with the race itself and the whole series of other events that there are.

“It can only be a positive, and I hope this inaugural one will lead to it becoming a big event for many years to come.”

The winner of the first Chesterfield and Derbyshire full marathon was Gareth Lowe from Barlborough.

Gareth, 41, who is a member of the Clowne Roadrunners running club, only took up running four to five years ago.

He said: “It’s nice to win your home marathon, this is my fourth marathon now.

“It wasn’t part of my training plan really, I heard about and at the last minute I thought shall I do it? And I thought yes.

“The course was difficult, more because of the hills, but it is very well organised. For the first one they have put on I think they have done very well.

“It’s brilliant for the town, hopefully it will be bigger next year.”

The male winner of the half marathon was Dave Archer, 31, from Holymoorside, who was running in aid of Parkinson’s disease charities.

He said he chose his charity to show support for his running coach, who has recently been diagnosed with the disease.

He added: “I’m absolutely delighted, the idea was to raise a bit of awareness for my charity and obviously take part in the local marathon.”

The female winner of the half marathon was Nicola Gleadall, 26, from Dronfield.

Nicola said that it felt absolutely fantastic to have been the first woman to have crossed the half marathon finish line.

She added: “I stayed strong throughout, I felt a bit like a trojan.

“I was in the leading female place from the start, which can sometimes have a reverse effect thinking that others are chasing you, but I managed to make such a large gap.

“I run regularly and the reason is because I absolutely love it, my mum calls me Forrest because I do absolutely love it.”

Did you take part in the marathon? Send your comments and pictures, and share your experiences via jack.grasby@jpress.co.uk