Almost 9,000 runners took to the streets of Birmingham on Sunday for the city’s half-marathon.
The EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon began at the Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, with participants making their way through Aston, Lozells, the city centre, Edgbaston and Bearwood, before reaching the finish of the 13.1 mile course in Centenary Square.
Andi Jones was the first to cross the finish line. The 30-year-old Salford Harrier finished in 1.05.46. He said: “It was a challenging course and it was very windy so I didn’t get the time I’d wanted to, but I am really proud to be the winner.”
After winning the women’s race with a time of 1.17.40, Birhan Dagne, of Birchfield Harriers, was full of praise for the people of the city. She said: “I’m very proud to have won the race and would like to thank the people of Birmingham for coming out in their numbers and cheering us on.”
Birmingham doctor Victoria Rusius was excited to finish third with a time of 1.28.20.
The Birmingham Rowheath Athletics Club member, who works at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “This is the first time I’ve run this distance competitively so I’m delighted to have come third. It was a great challenge and I’m a bit tired but I’ll have to recover quickly as I’m working a shift at the hospital tonight.”
Blind runner Dave Healey, also known as “Blind Dave”, who ran seven marathons in seven days earlier this year, was also among the thousands with his running partner Malcolm “Mad Mac” Carr.
He was joined by nearly 200 people running in Team Blind Dave for the BBC WM Kidney Kids Appeal, which aims to raise money for a new renal unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Birmingham University academic Dr Andy Blannin, said most of the runners would not regain “normal feeling” in their legs for up to two days after the race.
The lecturer in sports metabolism at Birmingham University, said: “Runners will get an adrenalin rush just from the fact it is race day, and this releases fat from antipose tissue, which will be converted into energy.
“Once they start running more adrenalin and hormones are released into the system, which in turn triggers the release of more fat, which is where most of their energy will come from during the race.
“But after they’ve crossed the finish line runners should keep moving and resist the temptation to slump on the pavement, possibly doing some gentle stretching for 10 or 15 minutes.
“Replenishing fluids is more important than replacing calories expended during the race. There is no need to eat thousands of calories afterwards.
“And whether you’re a club runner or a novice it’s important to rest and resist the urge to go for a ‘gentle jog’ for the next two days, and by day three or four their legs should be feeling normal again. “
Physiotherapy students from Birmingham City University were among those offering much needed massage, which can aid recovery and reduce stiffening, to the weary finishers in Centenary Square, .
Dr Blannin added: “It is important to take it easy over the next few days and if people are returning to training, to listen to their bodies before pushing themselves hard again.”