Blue skies and sunny weather at the weekend gave the Brentwood Half Marathon and Fun Run a summer party atmosphere, with thousands of competitors, organisers and supporters taking part to run, marshall and cheer enthusiastically.
Brentwood High Street was buzzing with people having coffee and shopping while waiting for friends and family to finish the races, and later with carb-hungry runners needing a post-race meal.
Despite a last minute hitch – the starting hooter broke – I was happy to join Brentwood Mayor, Cllr Olivia Sanders, Brentwood A Becket Rotary Club President, Carol Bannister, and Rotary DG Elect, Jed Brooks, to give a starting countdown for the half marathon runners and fun run participants at the starting arch.
This event, which attracts runners from across the UK, is a huge feat of year long organisation, and I was pleased to hear the Brentwood Rotary Clubs have joined forces with Brentwood Theatre, St Francis Hospice, and local businesses like Baker Labels, to help keep the event strong for future years.
The Brentwood Half Marathon felt like the start of a year when we get back to pre-Covid times. Covid-19 rates are still high, although with far fewer hospital admissions than at the peak, so using masks, and keeping up handwashing and social distancing when needed are still good lifestyle choices.
And to continue to protect the most vulnerable, from this week around 600,000 people will be invited to book their Spring booster, with eligible groups including care home residents, the over 75s, and those who are immunosuppressed aged 12 and over. In all around five million people will be able to get a Spring booster dose and top up their protection as we learn to live with Covid.
Finally, thanks to all who have been in touch about their plans to open up their homes to those fleeing the war in Ukraine. If you want to help, you can find the latest information on my website