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Sponsor Gazette staff going for gold in the Hackney Half Marathon - with donations helping Winter Night Shelter

PUBLISHED: 14:26 28 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:41 30 March 2017

On your marks! Peter Bailie and Patrick Dunne from the Gazette's ads department prepare for the Hackney Half Marathon on Hackney Downs. Picture: Polly Hancock

On your marks! Peter Bailie and Patrick Dunne from the Gazette's ads department prepare for the Hackney Half Marathon on Hackney Downs. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

There is competition in the air at the Gazette offices as staff vie for the premier position in the Hackney Half Marathon.

The times to beat

Last year 11,899 runners entered, with Mark Kibiwott from team Run Fast the first to cross the finish line. He won the men’s race in one hour, four minutes and 38 seconds.

Hannah Walker, from the same team, won the women’s race in one hour, 18 minutes and 12 seconds.

Peter Bailie and Patrick Dunne from the sales team will be going head-to-head with our nature columnist Will McCallum (and thousands of other people) in the 13-mile race on April 30.

The trio are raising money for the Hackney Winter Night Shelter.

Patrick is the eldest of our competitors at 34. The furthest he’s run recently is the 10 and a half miles home from Hackney Downs on Saturday. “It should have been eight miles, but I got lost,” he admitted. “It took me an hour and 45 minutes. I don’t know if that’s good or not to be honest. It’s probably the longest I’ve run before, but my old legs are bearing up.”

The Gazette's nature correspondent, Will McCallum from Greenpeace, will join Peter and Patrick in raising money for the Hackney Winter Night Shelter. Picture: Polly HancockThe Gazette's nature correspondent, Will McCallum from Greenpeace, will join Peter and Patrick in raising money for the Hackney Winter Night Shelter. Picture: Polly Hancock

This will be the furthest Peter’s ever run, either, and at 23 he has the dubious task of trying to outrun his boss.

“I set out looking to tag along with Patrick not realising how big the event is,” he said.

“Patrick is quite the competitive sort – he’s got me on board to run this with him, and now he keeps saying he’s going to win the whole thing, so I’ve got to make sure he doesn’t.

Mile 11 of Vitality Run Hackney in 2016. Picture: Fiona HansonMile 11 of Vitality Run Hackney in 2016. Picture: Fiona Hanson

“We haven’t really thought about Will because we’ve never met him. He could be the dark horse who comes out and beats us both.”

That could well be the case, because Will, who works for Greenpeace at its Islington HQ, has already run two marathons.

Will does a “short” run of “a few kilometres” as well as a medium and long run weekly.

Things are getting competitive in the Gazette office. Picture: Polly HancockThings are getting competitive in the Gazette office. Picture: Polly Hancock

“One of the main reasons I go running is to see something in the area to write about in my Gazette column,” he said. “At the moment it’s spring and it’s great – all the flowers are out and the birds singing.”

And while he doesn’t know Peter and Patrick, he conceded: “I can get competitive once there are other people running. I think we should all have a pint afterwards though.”

The route starts and finishes at Hackney Marshes and passes by some of Hackney’s most popular parks and landmarks, including the Hackney Empire and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

This year’s event, sponsored by Virgin Sport, will be the fourth year of the run.

To sponsor Patrick, Peter and Will, see bit.ly/gazetterunners.

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