As the UK begins to open the big road races, the Vitality Half Marathon, is an example of how they will be run. This is the release on the race, announcing the British elite field. It is really hard to bring in an international field with the pandemic still a huge issue.

charlotte purdue aw.jpgCharlotte Purdue, photo by Athletics Weekly


It will be a battle of Britain at The Vitality Big Half on Sunday [22 August] as the country's best half marathon runners go head-to-head on the streets of the capital.

Two-time champion and course record holder Charlotte Purdue returns to The Vitality Big Half for the first time since 2019 and for her first race since before the pandemic.

The 30-year-old won The Vitality Big Half in both 2018 and 2019 and is the third fastest British woman of all time over the half marathon distance (68:08) and the fourth fastest over the full marathon (2:25:38).

She set the event course record of 70:29 at the first ever Vitality Big Half in March 2019.

Purdue will be challenged by Samantha Harrison who is the number one-ranked half marathon runner in the UK in 2021 with a personal best (PB) of 69:48, and Verity Ockenden who will be making her debut over the distance. Ockenden won a bronze medal in the 3,000m at the European Indoor Championships in March and has set PBs over 5,000m (15:03:51) and 10,000m (31:43:70) on the track this summer.

In the men's race, Jake Smith, who is the third fastest British man of all time over the half marathon distance (60:31), returns to the event where he finished third at last year. He will be up against the reigning British Athletics marathon champion Jonny Mellor.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of The Vitality Big Half, said: "In Charlotte Purdue and Jake Smith we have got some of the fastest ever Britons over the half marathon distance, so we are really excited to see what they and the rest of the top-class British field can do at The Vitality Big Half this year."

In the wheelchair races, last year's women's champion Shelly Woods returns while Michael McCabe heads the entries in the men's wheelchair race.

The Vitality Big Half will be shown live on BBC Red Button and on The Vitality Big Half Facebook page from 08:15 on Sunday.

Behind the elite races, an estimated 11,000 participants are due to take part in London's community half marathon. The event celebrates the diversity of London and, in particular, the four boroughs the route passes through: Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich.

The race starts close to Tower Bridge and finishes beside the historic Cutty Sark in Greenwich.

Also taking place on the day, as well as The Vitality Big Half, is The Vitality Big Mile which begins at 14:30 and is for all ages and abilities. The route starts and finishes in Greenwich with the finish also beside the Cutty Sark.

To apply for media accreditation for The Vitality Big Half click here. Media accreditation will close at midnight on Friday 20 August.

Elite men

  • Jake Smith (Half Marathon PB 60:31)
  • Jonny Mellor (62:23)
  • Mohamud Aadan (62:30)
  • Ollie Lockley (63:01)
  • Joshua Griffiths (63:08)
  • Matt Clowes (63:26)
  • Calum Johnson (63:44)
  • Jamie Crowe (64:38)
  • Andrew Davies (64:46)
  • Doug Musson (64:55)
  • Charlie Hulson (64.28)
  • Jack Rowe (69:55)
  • Philip Sesemann (Debut)
  • Andrew Heyes (Debut)

Elite Women

  • Charlotte Purdue (Half Marathon PB 68:08)
  • Samantha Harrison (69:48)
  • Naomi Mitchell (75:19)
  • Natasha Cockram (75:27)
  • Verity Ockenden (76:19)
  • Hannah Irwin (Debut)

Men's wheelchairs

  • Sam Kolek (Half Marathon PB 55.10)
  • Michael McCabe (56.45)
  • Matthew Clarke (60.21)
  • Anton Sheppard (65:00)

Women's wheelchairs

  • Shelly Woods (Half Marathon PB 60.52)
  • Nikki Emmerson (62.50)
  • Liz McTernan (65.10)
  • Martyna Snopek (67.10)
  • Claudia Burrough (68:00)


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