The Vitality Big Half 2019 post-race quick quotes
10 March 2019, 12:30 p.m.
Men’s wheelchair winner: David Weir, 51:12
“I’m really pleased to win here today. The race was a great test of my fitness as I prepare for the London Marathon. The windy conditions made the race challenging today – because our chairs are six feet long, they act like a bit of a sail, but I don’t really mind windy conditions. I train in all weathers – and it’s been windy all week so it wasn’t that bad to be honest.
“The support out on the course was good; I always enjoy racing in London.
“I was a bit anxious in January because I had a car crash and got ill, spending a week in hospital, so I was nervous about my training but it’s been going well recently. I’m off to Spain next week for 10 days of warm-weather training ahead of the Boston Marathon and then the London Marathon.”
Women’s wheelchair winner: Margriet Van Den Broek, 63:41
“At some points it was fast but at some points the wind was really tough, so it wasn't that fast.
“The first 3K went ok, I didn't notice the wind and then at one point the wind came and I did a 180 degree turn and I was backwards. My front wheel was at the back and a volunteer helped me. It was so windy, and then the other girls came in front of me.
“At some points the wind was really tough but at other points it was ok. They said Tower Bridge was going to be tough but it wasn't bad.
“It was great, despite the wind. It was really fun to do because it was really tough and that makes it a challenge, so I really liked it.
“It's good prep for the London Marathon. Then I have a half marathon in New York, the Boston Marathon and then London two weeks later which is also our World Championships, so it's really important. I'm happy to come back."
Men’s race winner: Sir Mo Farah, 61:15
“The conditions weren’t great today so I’m pleased to win, although it would have been nice to run a bit faster and really test myself. I’m happy with the win and with how my preparations are going ahead of the London Marathon in April.
“I got a bit of stomach cramp at one point but it cleared up.
“It’s always great to race in London. I love racing on the streets of London; the crowds are amazing. I’m going to spend the next few days with my family then I head back to Ethiopia to continue training.
“The London Marathon is still quite a long way away but I’m happy with my progress and it was nice to be able to race today.”
Men’s race second place: Bashir Abdi, 61:16
“I train with Mo Farah and am also targeting the London Marathon this year. Today’s race was my last race before the London Marathon so it was good to test myself.
“The weather was not that good but I really enjoyed the crowd support; it’s my first time road racing in London so I’m really looking forward to coming back in April for the London Marathon. The crowds at the Finish especially were amazing today. It’s fantastic to run here.
“We have a lot of fun training together in Ethiopia but Mo is on a different level to me so I don’t think I’ll be able to stick with him at the London Marathon.”
Men’s race third place: Daniel Wanjiru, 61:17
“The race was perfect; the crowds were amazing because they were cheering for us all the way round.
“I was happy to be able to control the race, it was good preparation for the London Marathon in April. I ran at the pace I wanted to, and tested my body, so now I know that my training has been going well.
“The race was tough because of the wind but we managed to run a good time and we all had to fight the wind. I’m going for a personal best at the London Marathon this year because I’m injury-free so I’m focusing on winning.”
Women’s race winner: Charlotte Purdue, 70:38
“It’s brilliant to get the win. The weather was really windy so I knew it wasn’t going to be a really quick day.
“Some of the athletes went off really quick, but I knew they’d come back to me because the conditions didn’t indicate really fast times – so I followed my own race plan, and it paid off.
“It’s great to retain my title. I won here last year, and to win again is really good.
“The atmosphere was really good, but I wasn’t taking it in as much because of the wind, I was hating life a little bit out there but the crowds, like last year, were great again. It’s really cool running through such an iconic city, I love running in London.
“It’s really good that obviously there’s the elites running but then it goes all the way down the field. As I was running I could see so many different athletes, and it’s great to have everyone together in one race rather than separate, so everyone feels involved. It’s a really good idea.”
Women’s race second place: Stephanie Twell, 71:38
“The race was fantastic; I had a real race on my hands and for me to be able to mix it with some of the best British male runners really helped me in the early part of the race.
“Towards the end I was a bit exposed, I was a little separated and that’s where I need to stay focused. It’s overall pleasing to get a PB, but I’ve still got work to do.
“You can tell from the depth of British runners how special the event is. There are so many community initiatives around this event; everyone’s doing it for so many heartfelt reasons and in memory of people, and not many marathon or half-marathon events manage to capitalise on that.
“The atmosphere was really great. I didn’t know if spectators would turn out in this weather but there were big crowds and that really helped me get through. Tower Bridge was outstanding, just to have both lanes to yourself. I’ve been on it when you’re fighting tourists with selfie sticks, so it was pretty special to have that.
“The race goes through four London boroughs, and is really trying to boost diversity so for people who maybe haven’t thought about running before, in this part of London, it’s quite special to get onto the streets here.”
Women’s race third place: Charlotte Arter, 71:44
“The conditions were tough out there today, but I’m happy to make the podium in a hard race.
“We went out pretty hard, so it was a matter of just hanging on for the duration of the race and I dug deep in the last couple of miles to get the final spot on the podium. I’m really happy to get on the podium in a championship race.
“The Vitality Big Half is unique in that the field is great, the atmosphere’s great and it’s really good to have a major half-marathon in London. It’s brilliant for runners preparing for the London Marathon, but also for people who do shorter distances and want to run out further. It’s a really special event and it’s great to be a part of it.
“It’s always fun running in the capital, so it was fun out there today.
“It’s great for the local area to have an event like this, to encourage kids and adults of all ages to get involved in running and hopefully get inspired by some of the athletes today to keep active and get involved in the sport.”