VIDEO: A fantastic turnout for On Your Marks Luton!

HUNDREDS of hardy runners braved a very chilly morning when they turned out for our first On Your Marks charity run on Sunday.

The fantastic turnout confirmed the success of the event, which raised funds for the Luton & Dunstable Hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU).

So far a brilliant £8,900 has been raised through sponsorship, with still more donations to come in.

The 10km, 5km and 2km distances attracted everyone from experienced athletes keen to experience a new course, through to families with young children.

The 10km event was won by Darren Deed with a time of 30 minutes and 33 seconds, while Lee Murphy won the 5km in 18 minutes and 33 seconds.

The Luton News team was well represented, with Steve Nolan conquering the 10km distance in just 47 minutes, and advertising team members Claire Piggins, Dipika Sodha, Emma Caswell and Vikki Dodd all storming through the 5km.

Youngsters and their parents put in a sterling effort in the 2km, with even babies in buggies completing the course.

Some amazing fundraising totals came from families who had experienced their children being cared for at the NICU, with Wigmore family Sam, Joe, Freddie and Frankie Findlay raising more than £1,100.

Sarah Newby, fundraising manager at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, said: “There was such a great atmosphere both for those taking part and those spectating.

“Despite the cold everyone on the sidelines was cheering all the runners along which really helped spur them on. It was brilliant to see so many families and former NICU babies taking part, too.

“The feedback we had from runners was very positive saying that the route was challenging but all worthwhile when they got to the top of the hill at the Luton Hoo Hotel and saw the incredible views.

“We feel very honoured to have received so much support for the race from local running clubs, the local community and a few runners from much further afield.”

Dave Coard from triathlon group Boxfit, main organisers of the event, said: “I’m over the moon with how it went. A lot of work went into it but it was all worth it, and we’ve been getting lots of really good feedback.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to my wife Deb, and to Amanda Cooper and Deb Collins from Boxfit, who put in all the hard work behind the scenes to make it a success, and to all the marshals who helped out on the day.”

The Luton News and our sister paper, the Herald&Post, would like to say a big thank you to all those involved with organising, sponsoring and supporting the event: Boxfit, the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, Vauxhall Recreation Centre, Luton Hoo Hotel, Bartham Press and Diverse FM, Briggs Roofing, Body-Conscious Sports Massage Therapy, Tri-Crazy, Total Print, Ian Hobdell, My Lunch, Coca Cola Enterprises, Sainsbury’s in Dunstable Road, Luton, and Pratt’s Bananas.