ABOUT 2,000 runners took part in Sunday’s 22nd Fleet Half Marathon.

There was not a cloud in the sky for the event organised by Fleet and Crookham Athletics Club.

Ronnie Adams from Portsmouth Joggers won the race in 1h 08m, while the first woman back was Louise Watson from Medway and Maidstone in a time of 1h 17m.

Matthew Pearson was the first Fleet and Crookham Athletics club runner home in 1h 15m, while joint race director Penny Willson was the first local woman home in 1h 30m.

Used by many as a warm-up for the London Marathon next month, the race was full soon after entry opened.

“The weather was absolutely brilliant for it,” said race publicity officer Philippa May of Fleet and Church Crookham Athletics Club, who completed the course in 1h 42m.

“The Fleet Half Marathon takes pride in being an event organised by runners for runners and we have already got feedback from a number of people saying how much they enjoyed themselves and how friendly the marshals were.

“In 1982 Chris Brasher gave us permission to title the race The Pre-London Half Marathon, and that continues today.

“We were very sad to hear of his recent death.”

This year’s route was modified to avoid the traffic bottlenecks created in previous years in Church Crookham and Crookham Village.

Runners used the event to raise thousands of pounds for a wide range of charities close to their hearts.

Many soap stars were running for the Leukaemia Research Fund, including actors from Emmerdale and The Bill.

Among the local runners taking part were the determined Raising the Roof team from St Philip and St James Church in Kings Road, Fleet, who were running to pay for essential repairs to the church roof.

Church members were also helping to man the first of the four drink stations on the 13.1-mile course.

This year’s event was sponsored by Fleet Honda, Redfields Garden Centre, Hargreaves Sports of Fleet, Hart Council, the Kinetika Gym in Farnham and sportswear company ASICS.

The organisers always welcome feedback so they are able to maintain a high standard.

Anyone with comments on this year’s event can send them to www.fleetandcrook hamac.org.uk.