British runners Ross Houston and Tracy Millmore took the honours at the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday, a European Athletics Running For All Five Star certified road race.
Houston won the men’s race in 2:24:13 while Millmore took the women’s event in 2:46:09 but it really was party time on the streets of York for thousands of other runners of all abilities.
Starting at the University of York, the route took the field through the heart of the beautiful and historic city and out into villages and country lanes before returning to the university and the finish.
Houston, a winner three weeks ago of the Scottish Half Marathon in Edinburgh, made it back-to-back wins and the 37-year-old Scottish runner produced a fine performance in his first outing over the classic distance since 2014 as he secured victory in front of an estimated 7000 starters by over a minute from Tom Charles, who was second in 2:25:52.
“It's a good, flat course. I really pleased to be first, but it was very hard work on the last few miles," reflected Houston.
Millmore’s success in the women’s race was by an even more prolific distance as the triumphed as the 35-year-old took almost four minutes off her best and won by over eight minutes from the well-known ultra-runner and Scottish 2014 Commonwealth Games marathon representative Joasia Zakrzewski, who was second in 2:54:47.
"I was second until 19 miles and it was difficult, but I knew I had to keep my legs going. I always think with marathons that the race doesn't really start until 20 miles, but I kept going. I had the bikes in front of me acting as support, so they were a good help and I kept focusing on that,” said Millmore
Barbara Boyce, the Lord Mayor of York, commented: "It's incredibly fun. It's bringing people together and it shows that York people are so willing to do so much for hundreds of different organisations. I've seen people today who are not professional athletes in any way, but they are all here to take part. There's a woman I know doing this in her 80s and it's tremendous."
The festival of running also included the Plusnet Yorkshire 10 Mile.
In a field of almost 4000, Dominic Shaw won the men’s race in 50:15 and Tanya Blake won the women’s in 1:03:19.
It is just over two weeks since Dnipro hosted the Ukrainian marathon championships where Artem Piddubnyi, 23, took his first national title title in 2:24.46.
Normally marathoners then take a long break, preparing for their next race, allowing their bodies to ease back into a normal routine as they recover.
What did Piddubnyi do next?
The answer to that question came in Kiev on Sunday when he was back on the roads and amazingly winning another marathon.
In a personal best time of 2:24:20, Piddubnyy triumphed in the men’s race at the Wizz Air Kiev City Marathon – a European Athletics Running For All five star certified race – as fellow Ukrainian Iryna Masnyk won the women’s event in 2:48:13.
Not showing any tiredness from his previous marathon, Piddubnyi was in front from just before the halfway mark and was never troubled after that as he won by more than six minutes while Masnyk had an even bigger margin of victory, coming home more than 20 minutes ahead of her nearest rival.
Over 10,000 runners, including local TV and entertainment celebrities – a massive increase form the 600 who participated in the first Kiev Marathon race day in 2010, which saw just 120 runners complete the full distance – from 52 countries were part of the day and with the races starting and finishing in the city's Independence Square.
The annual event, which is now in its 10th year, included a marathon, a half marathon, 10km and 5km races.
For the first time in the history of the marathon there was also a charity women's 3km race #AvonPinkRun. The purpose of the race was to raise funds for the purchase of a mobile mammography for the diagnosis of breast cancer and 725 women were at the start.
More details about Running For All, and all the races that have been certified, can be found here.