Sir Mo Farah and Eilish McColgan star as more than 12,500 people run as one at The Big Half 2022
More than 12,500 people took to the streets of London on a warm and dry September morning to run as one in The Big Half 2022 – the capital’s community half marathon.
In total, 12,612 participants, of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, wound their way around the 13.1-mile course, starting by Tower Bridge and finishing at Cutty Sark. They were headed by a stellar elite field featuring British racing icons Sir Mo Farah and Eilish McColgan.
And the two stars did not disappoint, with Farah returning to fantastic form with a historic third victory in the men’s race and McColgan continuing her sensational summer by smashing the women’s course record – both spurred on by enthusiastic crowds at the Cutty Sark finish.
Meanwhile, Paralympic legend David Weir was also in record-breaking mode, beating the men’s wheelchair course record – 10 years after winning four golds at London 2012. And Eden Rainbow-Cooper equalled the mighty Manuela Schär’s course record in the women’s wheelchair race.
Sir Mo said after his 61:49 win. “It’s nice to make history. I love London and I love coming back out here. There was massive support.”
Today’s victory bodes well for Farah’s imminent return to the TCS London Marathon on Sunday 2 October, which he’s running for the first time since 2019: “I’m really looking forward to it – it’s going to be a great race, no matter what happens.”
Last year’s runner-up Jack Rowe came second again, in 62:04, while 2021 victor Jake Smith was third in 62:10.
McColgan led the women from the start – capping an incredible season that saw her win four medals in 16 days, including a 10,000m Commonwealth gold. Her time of 67:35 smashed last year’s winner Charlotte Purdue’s course record of 69:51.
McColgan said: “It was a tough effort after a long season. So to run 67:35 today and break the course record, I can’t ask for any more than that.”
Purdue was looking for her fourth win in the event, but had to settle for second in 70:15, while Samantha Harrison was third in 70:22.
Elite men’s wheelchair winner Weir said: “That felt good – nice to be back on the roads after the Commonwealth Games. I was so surprised how good London’s roads were, which is good for the marathon in a few weeks’ time.”
He was followed by Danny Sidbury in 47:20, with Johnboy Smith third in 50:35.
Rainbow-Cooper said of her win: “It feels really, really awesome! Course record wasn’t on my mind today – I just wanted to come out and see how far I could go.
Claudia Burrough was second, in 70:54, while last year’s runner-up Martyna Snopek was third in 78:38.
The theme of The Big Half is We Run As One. It’s a campaign that aims to celebrate the diversity of the boroughs the course passes through – Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets – and the communities that live within them. Organisers London Marathon Events offers local community groups discounted entry, and there were plenty of participants from the area on the route.
Prabina Talary of Runderbolts, one of the groups that features in the We Run As One campaign video, summed up the mood of the day: “The main thing for me is the vibe, the family, the community – that’s what I love about The Big Half.”
In addition to the half marathon, the day hosts the New Balance Big Relay, where teams of four take on The Big Half course split into legs of around 5K each, and The Big Mile – a family friendly fun run covering the final mile of the route, which nearly 2,000 more people took part in.