Half marathon heroes all: How Asda Foundation Leeds Half Marathon 2019 unfolded in bright sunshine

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Glorious spring sunshine drenched the streets as thousands of runners completed The Asda Foundation Leeds Half Marathon today.

Thousands more lined the tough 13.1 mile route to cheer on friends and family taking part in the annual event.

Runners set off from the Headrow at the 2019 Adsa Foundation Leeds Half Marathon

Runners set off from the Headrow at the 2019 Adsa Foundation Leeds Half Marathon

Athletes of all ages and abilities set off from the Headrow in front of Leeds Town Hall at 9.30am.

Many lined up nervously hoping months of hard winter training would pay off with personal best times.

Others were determined to get around course to raise as much money as possible for charity.

Kenyan athlete Mohammed Abu-Rezeq crossed the finish line to win the men's race for the third year running in 67 minutes.

Leeds Half Marathon pass Leeds Town Hall on the way to the finish line

Leeds Half Marathon pass Leeds Town Hall on the way to the finish line

He said: “It feels fantastic to win. It was nice and hot today just the weather I like to race in."

The first female runner, Faye Banks, crossed the line in 81 minutes.

Faye, 39, from Adel, Leeds, runs for Pontefract Athletic Club. She won for the second year running.

She said: “It feels amazing to win again. It was a tough run because it got very hot towards the finish but I managed to go a minute faster than last year.

Men's race winner Mohammed Abu-Rezeq crosses the finish line

Men's race winner Mohammed Abu-Rezeq crosses the finish line

"This was the race I had been targeting this year."

Second female finisher was Jenni Muston, from Ossett, in 85 minutes.

The 45-year-old Spenborough and District AC athlete said: “I’m pretty chuffed with that as I did a 50 mile bike ride yesterday!”

Wheelchair athlete Callum Hall, from Leeds, crossed the finishing line in 57 minutes, breaking his own course record by three minutes.

Women's race winner Faye Banks

Women's race winner Faye Banks

He said: "A lot of hard work went into this and it went like a dream. I can't tell you how good it feels."

Among the competitors were husband and wife, Catherine and James Dobson, from Otley.

They took part in the race for the first time to raise funds for the mental health charity Mind.

Catherine said: “We are both feeling very nervous. We have done the training and know what to expect from researching the course. We can’t wait to get going now.”

James said: “We will be running every step of the way together for a great charity.”

Sisters Lindsay Dunne and Jayne Storey, from Yeadon, took part to raise funds for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

Brothers Pete and Andy Shepherd ran the race dressed as a pair of trainers

Brothers Pete and Andy Shepherd ran the race dressed as a pair of trainers

Lindsay said: “It’s great weather for it and we plan to get around in about two and a half hours.”

Jayne said: “Our brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s and we wanted to do something to help the charity that has supported him.”

Brothers Pete and Andy Shepherd were among the first fancy dress runners to make it back to Millennium Square.

They completed the course side-by-side dressed as a pair of running shoes.

Andy said: “It was tough going this year. Last year was much easier when we were dressed as two peas in a pod.”

Former Leeds Rhinos legends Barrie McDermott and Keith Senior were among this year's VIPs taking part in the Leeds Half Marathon.

The pair tucked into bacon sandwiches after completing the race for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

McDermott said he hoped the event would be a welcome distraction after watching the Rhinos suffer a humiliating Challenge Cup defeat to Bradford Bulls yesterday.

He said: "I was surprised how many people kept asking me what went wrong in the match as I was running round.

"I was at the game yesterday and it was humiliating for that team. There's only one thing they can do and that is work harder."

"I've done the Leeds Half six or seven times now and it's always a great atmosphere and very well organised."

Senior, who completed the race in two hours, eight minutes, said: "It was just about getting round the course for me today. It never gets any easier.

"It's always a pleasure to support the Jane Tomlinson Appeal."

Leeds Half Marathon runner helped to the finish by volunteers

Leeds Half Marathon runner helped to the finish by volunteers

Leeds Rhinos legends Keith Senior and Barrie McDermott refuel with bacon sandwiches

Leeds Rhinos legends Keith Senior and Barrie McDermott refuel with bacon sandwiches