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Space race is on for Leeds’ biggest ever Half Marathon

John Johnson

John Johnson

Runners who missed out on a place in this year’s Leeds Half Marathon are being given another chance to join the ranks.

Thousands of people rushed to sign up for the Sunday May 11 event, leaving many keen fundraisers disappointed.

But organisers have now increased capacity by 1,000, making it the biggest Leeds Half Marathon to date.

John Johnson, the race’s oldest competitor, has already secured his place on the starting block.

The 85-year-old took up running when he was 53, after being diagnosed with throat cancer, and has since taken part in the Leeds Half more than than 10 times.

Garforth pensioner Mr Johnson runs around 25 miles a week and has completed some 44 marathons over the years.

Last year saw him cross the Leeds Half finish line in just two hours and 17 minutes - an achievement he modestly said he was ‘quite pleased’ with.

Lynne Preston, of organisers Run For All, said: “The Leeds Half Marathon goes from strength to strength and the response to this year’s run has been fantastic.

“We anticipate there will be an equally big demand for the extra places, so people who want to be involved should make sure they register as soon as possible.

“Given the interest it’s already generating, the 2014 run promises to be the best yet,” she added.

The 2013 Leeds Half raised £150,000 for the Yorkshire hospices it supports, while scores of other good causes also benefited from runners’ achievements.

Former organisers Leeds City Council handed the reins to Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All in 2012.

Jane Tomlinson CBE raised £1.85m for children’s and cancer charities before her sad death from cancer in 2007, aged 43 .

Her family are now on course to take that total to £5m in her memory.

 

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