9 Oct

We Have Never Had It So Good

Mall on London Marathon day

Does it get any better than this? Running has never been in better health in this country. And don't let any curmudgeons tell you otherwise.

Last weekend was the perfect example as Glasgow, Cardiff, Bournemouth and London served up hugely memorable events for over 60,000 runners, their families and friends and thousands more spectators.

The Bournemouth Marathon Festival proved to be a great addition to the road running calendar. The Dorset event made its debut and was well organised and very popular. An estimated 9,000 took part in 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon distances across two days of running activities.

At the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon there were 16,000 runners, up by 3,500 on last year for an event that is only into its sixth year in the English capital. The Great Scottish Run saw 23,000 competing in half marathon and 10k races, an all-time best for the 31-year-old event.

Vast crowds there were also treated to a home winner as Susan Partridge won the women's race less than one year before she returns to the same city streets for the Commonwealth Games marathon.

Not to be upstaged, the men's race was won by the ever popular Haile Gebrselassie. The Ethiopian marked his first appearance in Scotland with an all-comers record of 61:09 for the 13.1mile distance. Meanwhile in the principality, the Cardiff Half Marathon saw over 14,000 finishers for a race that launched 10 years earlier with 1,500 participants.

It was a weekend that reminded us that running is truly in the middle of a golden area in Britain. It must be - even the sun shone in October! Of course, there will always be those who prefer to dust off the history books and reminisce about some of our great athletes of yesteryear instead.

Coe, Cram and Ovett will most likely get mentioned. But even at the very sharp end of our sport, Britain has never had a distance runner as successful as Mo Farah.

We can also probably still allow ourselves a few more years yet basking in one of our own holding the women's world marathon record. Paula Radcliffe's 2:15;25 looks better now than it did when she first obliterated the record books in 2003.

The UK-born Parkrun phenomenon means that timed free 5k events are within easy reach for millions of us weekly.

And with the Virgin London Marathon and the Great North Run, the UK hosts two of the world's greatest mass participation events. Whichever way you look at it, we have never had it so good. So, like the glorious British summer, let's enjoy it whilst it lasts.