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Elite post-race quotes

Lily Partridge, first woman, 70:50

“It was nice to get the win; that was important today. My coach said to me before the start that the goal was to win – it wasn’t about the time. It’s my fastest ever half marathon during a marathon build up phase [Partridge is training for the Virgin Money London marathon in April].

“I feel like I’m on the up from injury, and I don’t feel like I’m flying, so that’s a big confidence booster. I’m excited to get back to work for London.

“The crowds at The Vitality Big half are incredible. Everyone knows your name, and they shout for you, which you don’t always get when you race abroad. I will absolutely be back next year to defend my title.

“I was expecting the weather to be worse today. There was a breeze and there were some parts that were really blowy but it was actually quite pleasant.”

Samantha Harrison, second woman, 71:01

“I really enjoyed the race today. It’s the first time I’ve done The Vitality Big Half so I didn’t really know what to expect.

“I probably did the first six miles a bit too quick, but I went with how I felt. I got a 40-second PB today, so I’m really pleased as I wasn’t expecting a PB; my goal was to get in the top three, so to get a PB and to come second was a bonus.

“I loved going over Tower Bridge; the support was amazing. To come second behind Lily [Partridge] by seconds is a good result for me.”

Stephanie Davis, third woman, 71:15

“It was my first time at the event and I found the course a little bit tougher than I expected, but I ran a big PB so that’s a good sign as I build up to the London Marathon in April.”

Kenenisa Bekele, first man, 60:22

“This was my second half marathon in the UK and I’m very happy to win. It was a little bit windy out there so to get a new course record is a great bonus. I wasn’t focused on time today; I just wanted to win.

“I’m on schedule in my preparation for the London Marathon in April. If the weather is good, then I’m hoping to run like I ran in Berlin last year.

“There’s no question about the crowds in London being great. There was cheering all the way around the course; it felt like a great place to be thanks to the amazing people of London.”

Chris Thompson, second man, 61:07

“It was really fun out there today. I was here to race and separate the cream pretty early so it was good to go toe to toe with Kenenisa. There were a few points when he was struggling a bit but once he got a gap on me that was it really. After that we were in our own little worlds. But I’m proud to have heard an ex world record holder breathing a little bit.

“I love how personal it feels racing in London. People call your name, which makes you feel great. The crowd support was really good, which is amazing early on a Sunday morning.

“As long as my heart is still beating and I have fire in my belly, then I’ll keep showing up. I’m pleased with my run today. I think my first mile was 4:20 so that’s a PB. I wasn’t here to mess around today.”

Shelly Woods, first wheelchair woman, 62:02

“It’s my first time at The Vitality Big half and I found it challenging. It’s quite a tough course and was challenging in terms of the wind, the cobbles and the twists and turns but I love racing in London so it was nice to be back.

“It’s nice to get out and test the chair. I’m training for the Boston and London Marathons in April, so it was good to race today, especially with all the bad weather we’ve had in the UK recently. It’s not been easy to train outdoors because of the storms.

“There was a great atmosphere out on the course. Londoners are so great; everyone comes out to support us.”

Brent Lakatos, first wheelchair man, 48:44

“The race went really well today. I’m doing the London Marathon in a couple of months so this will help me as I build up to that.

“To beat David Weir is great. The support was great out there today – even if most people were cheering for Dave!

“It’s the first race of 2020 for me, in a year when Tokyo is coming up, so winning here today is a really good start to the year.”

David Weir, second wheelchair man, 50:07

“It was tough out there today. It’s been a tough winter because of the conditions; I haven’t been away yet. I’ve spent a lot of time on the rollers, getting out when I can.

“I’m fit and healthy but I need to get outside more. This race is a bit of a benchmark to show me what I need to do in training. I’m off to Spain in a few weeks to train.

“I’m doing three marathons in April so I’ve got a lot of work to do in Spain. I’m looking forward to this year’s London Marathon; it will be my 21st time at the event so I can’t wait.

“I love racing around the streets of London; the support was great today.”