HUNDREDS of runners put their best foot forward as they descended on Andover's town centre to take part in the half marathon, raising money for a charity close to the organiser’s heart.

The half marathon, organised by Andover Trail Events, started and finished on the high street, taking runners through the picturesque villages to the south of the town on Sunday, October 29.

The event raised money for Maggie’s in Southampton, a charity that provides free cancer support and information for people living in the south of England, with £5 from every entry being donated to Maggie’s.

Mark O’Meara, owner of Andover Trail Events, chose the charity due to his own battle with cancer.

READ MORE: Andover Half Marathon to raise money for cancer charity

Talking to the Advertiser at the event he said: "I am really pleased with it and a bit emotional. I have always wanted to organise a road marathon and it is nice to raise something for the charity.

"I have a brain tumour and have gone through surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy and Maggie's have been there the whole way and helped me through. When you are in the hospital it [Maggie's] provides an environment you can go to and it's peaceful."

Andover Advertiser: Mark and his wife CarolMark and his wife Carol (Image: Newsquest)

In September 2022 Mark, from Andover, was on the M27 when he suddenly lost sensation in the right side of his body. He immediately pulled over and dialled 999 which saw him rushed to Southampton General Hospital.

An MRI scan revealed the shocking discovery of a lesion on his brain, likely to be a glioma. 

A follow-up scan in December showed no change to the broad bean-sized tumour growing on Mark’s brain. 

After conquering the muddy route runners crossed the finish line in outstanding time.

Nick Tuftnell, 46, from Bristol, who grew up in Andover claimed first place in a time of 1.22.58. He said the win felt "incredible". 

Andover Advertiser: Nick Tuftnell with his family after the race Nick Tuftnell with his family after the race (Image: Newsquest)

"I used to love cycling but I have a hereditary eye condition, which meant I had to stop driving when I was in my early 20s. It degraded to the point where I couldn't cycle so I decided to do a Park Run and decided that I really love running. In a weird way I am so grateful I had to stop cycling," he added.

SEE ALSO: Andover lorry driver with brain tumour raises money for cancer charity

Finishing second with an impressive time of 1.32.22 was 44-year-old Allan McKinnon from Andover.

McKinnon, who retired from a career in the Army two years ago is now part of the Army Reserve, its members are ex-regular personnel.

He said: "I am a bit gutted I was first the whole way until the last two miles. I am happy to come second, especially as I only thought about entering the race last night [the day before the race].

Andover Advertiser:  Allan McKinnon after the race Allan McKinnon after the race (Image: Newsquest)

The first female to complete the half marathon was Henrietta Mackinnon, 52, from Marlborough, with a time of 1.43.40.

READ ALSO: Live updates from the Andover Half Marathon

Henrietta, who is a member of Marlborough Running Club, added: "It's a great race, I love supporting Mark because I know it is for a fantastic cause. 

"I was really rubbish at sports at school but I used to go off running and now I have been part of the club for more than 20 years."

The event also raised awareness for the Enham Trust that supports disabled people to live, work and enjoy life.

To donate to Maggie’s, Mark has sent up a JustGiving page at