Harrogate man beats 10,000 runners to win Brighton half marathon
Last updated Feb 28, 2023
Cal Mills
Cal crosses the line first in Brighton.

A Harrogate man who only took up running three years ago beat nearly 10,000 runners to win the Brighton half marathon on Sunday.

Cal Mills, 22, completed the 13.1-mile course in one hour, six minutes and 37 seconds, which was faster than the world record time until 1965, when Britain’s Ron Hill ran one hour, five minutes and 44 seconds.

Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo’s current world record is 57 minutes and 31 seconds and Mo Farah’s British record for the distance is 59 minutes and 32 seconds.

What’s even more remarkable is that former Harrogate Grammar School student Cal only started running at the age of 19 and is virtually unknown in the sport.

He won his first event, the Guy Fawkes 10k organised by Nidd Valley Road Runners, in 2021 and followed that up by winning the Harrogate 10k last year.

Harrogate 10k

Leading the field in last year’s Harrogate 10k.

After finishing 10th in this year’s Manchester half marathon, he turned up in Brighton hoping for a decent time and ended up smoking everyone, being cheered to victory by thousands of people on his way to the finish line. He said:

“It’s absolutely mad. It was the craziest atmosphere I have ever run in. I have never felt like that before when I crossed the line.”

Cal, who is in his final year studying history at the University of Leeds and runs for Leeds City Athletic Club, wasn’t into running at school and only got into the sport seriously during lockdown.

In the space of three years he has gone from Stray jogger to elite distance runner. The Brighton half marathon, which was being held for the 33rd time, is a major event on the British road running circuit.

Cal Mills

Celebrating in Brighton on Sunday

Cal’s next event will be the London marathon in April and despite his achievements he isn’t putting any pressure on himself.

“It’s been a surreal journey. Nobody knew my name at Brighton. If I had started when I was younger, who knows where I could have taken it.

“But I just want to enjoy it. If I end up being a high standard club runner that’s fine by me.”

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