The St Albans Half Marathon was founded in 1982 by local businessman, Phil Gibson, who wanted to raise money for a hospital scanner following the death of his mother from breast cancer.
The first ever race was called the Mini Marathon and was open to runners, joggers and walkers. It attracted 1,300 competitors each paying £1.00 entry fee receiving a certificate on completion. First male home was local athlete Kirk Dumpleton and first female, local school teacher Irene Peatie.
Recording the results was a labour of love for Alan Woollaston who sat on the gantry above the finishing line speaking the numbers of the finishers into a tape recorder, then working into the evening with his son to feed them into the computer. The results were such a major task that the presentations had to be made the following day.
The event was deemed a great success. It was considered to be the biggest charity event ever seen in St Albans. It was hoped that it would become an annual event…...
Today we are proud to say that the race is now a regular date in the running calendar attracting athletes from all over the world. We have three of our local athletes who have competed in every race despite injury and pregnancy! They are Duncan Burgoyne, Tony Crocker and Paula Wise plus our Race Founder Phil Gibson!
Since its conception the whole event has escalated to include a 1.5 mile fun run, 5K race and the Walking Half Marathon with numbers totalling over 7,000. Included in the entrants now are a good number of faster runners and a new men's course record was set in June 2011 by David Michinson of 1:09.58 and remains unbeaten.
The long standing route for the half marathon on the Redbourn side of St Albans became unavailable after the Buncefield Oil Depot explosions and fire of December 2005. After this the route included a section through the central shopping area of St Albans but the runners commented on the hills! So in 2013 it was replaced by our current route that takes you through the pleasant lanes towards Bedmond. It is marshalled by local groups of volunteers from schools and sporting organisations. More than 80 national as well as local charities have benefited from the £800,000+ raised. Charities to have benefited are Aspire, BHF, Clic Sargent, Grove House, ABC Scanner Appeal, NSPCC, Willow Foundation and Everyman to name but a few.
If you have any interesting information, stories, memories or photos we would love to hear from you.
Please contact the St Albans Half Marathon team via e-mail:
Our Marshal Groups
We could not run the event without the continued support from the local voluntary organisations listed below. Every year through rain or shine, these voluntary groups: marshal the routes, have a presence in the runner’s village and help with the setup/ take down of the event.
We would like to say a BIG thank you to all the voluntary organisations that have helped with the event over the years and we look forward to working with you some of you in 2021!
Park Street Scout Group
Friends of T.O.S.E
How Wood School
Prae wood School association
Abbey CE VA Primary School
Garden Fields PTA
North Herts SANDS
The Ryde School
St John Fisher School PTA
Old London Road Pre School
Colney Heath JMI PTA
Museums & Galleries Trust
Mind in Mid Herts
St Albans Judo Club
Hertfordshire Society for the Blind
50+ walking Group
St Albans Mencap
St Columba's School
Samuel Ryder Academy
Marshalswick Judo Club
Verulamium Cycling Club
Aboyne Lodge PTA (ALSA)
Old Verulamian Rugby Club
Friends of Bowmansgreen School
3rd St Albans Scouts
St Albans Sub Aqua Club
St Albans Rangers FC
1st Bricket wood Scout Group
No.220 squadron Air Training Corps
5th/13th St Albans Scout group
St Peters School
Bernards Heath PTA
Abbey Flyers Netball Team
St Albans Network Scouts
Cunningham Hill Junior School PTA
Marlborough Science Academy PTA
21st St Albans Brownies
St Lukes School PTA
Harpenden Town Football
Local Running Clubs
Athena - Ladies' Running Group
Working in partnership with St Albans Half Marathon, Athena is a ladies' only running group based in St Albans.
All abilities welcome, but members must be over 16.
Find out more here
London Colney Running Club
Suitable for 5k to Half Marathon runners, the London Colney Running club meets every Saturday at 10am.
Sessions are £5 each and include personal race training plans and coach support.
Please call Armand on 07729 831639 for more information.
St Albans Striders
Whether you are already an experienced runner or just taking up the sport your local running club welcomes you.
Membership is open to runners aged 16 and over of all abilities.
Training sessions are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (& Saturdays). Joining costs as little as £18 and you can train with others, learn new routes and meet new people!
Suitable for any level of runner, but beginners can contact the club on their Facebook page here if they are unsure about the pace or distance.
Meet at 8pm in the car park behind the memorial hall on Marford Road on Monday and Tuesday nights.
NB. Please check the facebook page to ensure the session is running.
Primary School Challenge
St Albans Half Marathon prides itself on being community focused, and one aspect of this is to run a School Challenge. This encourages children to get active and take part in the event and awards cash donation prizes as incentives.
A prize will be awarded to the Primary School from St Albans with the highest percentage of overall students participating in the 12 years and under age group of the 1.5 mile fun run.
A prize will be awarded to the St Albans school with the most improved percentage of students registered based on their 2019 score.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens on the day?
We make sure we have a meet and greet area in the runners’ village. If you wish to bring a small gazebo and school flags to create a visual meeting point for your school we are more than happy for you to do this. Please note that there is no parking in the park on event day so you will need to arrange to have any heavy items dropped off. We also remind you that the park is strictly no BBQ’s and we just ask that you collect your schools rubbish into black bags for us to collect (otherwise the day is made very long as we have to litter pick ourselves).
How do we know who has won?
Winning schools will be announced on Sunday 10th June after the fun run event and be invited to the podium for the presentation. The school will then be asked for representatives to attend the Formal Presentation Evening where they will receive their donation cheque.
What does the school need to do?
Honestly, not a lot! We need your school to market this opportunity to their pupils and help us encourage families to get active together! We will link some posters on the website soon with more information about the event, ready for you to share.
How do the children register as part of our school?
When the parent registers the child it will automatically ask them which school the child attends. When we do the final count we use the answers from this question. Please be aware that whilst parents have to register with under 8's, their registration will not count towards the challenge.