PICTURES: Runners take on the Brighton Half Marathon

An estimated 12,500 runners ran 13.1 miles through Brighton and Hove this morning (February 26), raising cash for charities in Sussex and beyond.

The Brighton Half Marathon began at 9am, with international DJ and Brighton resident Norman Cook sounding the starting klaxon - before joining the race himself.

Paul Martelletti, who has won the men’s race for the past four consecutive years - and holds the course record of 64.53 - announced he was unable to run this year due to an injury, but he did join the commentator at the finish line to cheer runners on.

His absence left the race wide open for other elite men's runners, and by mile nine there was a battle between five runners in front.

It was a sprint to the finish line at Madeira Drive, but coming in first was Jonathan Tipper, 36, from South London, who completed the course in 68.37 seconds - a personal best.

He said: "It's amazing. I was absolutely not expecting that."

Runners at the Brighton Half Marathon (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

Runners at the Brighton Half Marathon (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

Coming in second was Stuart Hawkes at 68.43, and in fifth place was Neil Boniface at 68.55.

The winner of the women's elite race was Eleanor Davis from Cornwall, who set a course record at 74.26.

She said: "I am really stoked. I wanted to get under 75 minutes. It's a personal best."

In second place was Emily Proto coming in at 81.27 followed by last year's winner Sarah Hill at 81.34.

Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim told the Brighton & Hove Independent it was his seventh Brighton Half Marathon and said: "I had a good one."

He added: "As you go past the end of your road sometimes there's the temptation to stop for a cup of tea. But the local support... they make you run faster when people shout your name."

The race began at Madeira Drive, with runners passing the Palace Pier, the Royal Pavilion and St Peter's Church, before heading back down Grand Parade onto the Old Steine and turning left onto Marine Parade.

The race then heads out east towards Ovingdean towards the Blind Veterans UK centre, and then back west towards Brighton, past both the piers.

Runners then made their way along the Kings Road to Hove Lagoon before turning left onto the seafront. A two-mile run past the beach huts of Hove brought runners back to the Peace Statue, where the race rejoins the road for the last dash past cheering crowds to the finish on Madeira Drive.

This year there was also a wheelchair race for the first time in the Brighton Half's history, and a mini-mile for youngsters.

The Brighton Half Marathon is run by HIV charity The Sussex Beacon, starting in the 1990s as a fundraising event, featuring just 200 runners. Now it attracts thousands of runners, supporting dozens of charities.

For videos of the start and finish of the Brighton Half, the mini-mile, the medal ceremony, and an interview with Norman Cook, visit the Brighton & Hove Independent Facebook page.