Into deepest Wales, intead of the seaside, delved Buxton Athletics Club when they made a change of venue from Blackpool for their annual half-marathon outing on Sunday.
For 30 members of the club boarded a coach to Wrexham for a race known as the Village Bakery Half-Marathon and joined a field of 1,391 finishers.
The fast and flat course was ideal for runners attempting to set a new personal-best (PB) time or a season’s best time, and the still, cool weather added to the attractive conditions.
The Buxton contingent duly acquitted themselves well, with their first two male finishers, Rick Aldred and Andy Lidstone, and also their first female finisher, Jo Bednall, all recording new PBs. Aldred clocked one hour, 26.29 minutes to come home 168th, while Lidstone posted 1.28.24 in 203rd and Bednall clocked 1.40.26 as she finished in 460th position.
Many of the Buxton’s runners were competing in a half-marathon for the first time, and several of these debutants only took up running at all last year, via the club’s successful Target 5k programme. The ‘newbies’ included Mary Rooney, whose time was 2.25.03, Steve Keable (2.25.17) and Nicola Wall (2.26.36), who all produced highly respectavle performances.
No fewer than ten runners from the Buxton club set new PBs. Annabelle Mottram again demonstrated the positive effects of her dedicated London Marathon training by improving her previous best by a staggering 13 minutes, finishing in 1.54.31. There were also PBs for Stefan Ledin (1.30.49), Pete Bailey (1.34.44), Kate Ledin (1.44.43), Kate Phillips (1.45.37), Heather Fryer-Winder (2.01.51) and Nikki Marsh (2.26.37).
With most runners choosing Wrexham for this year’s outing, only one ventured to Blackpool for the Great North-West Half-Marathon. But Jason Bennett did not let the side down, finishing a fine 24th from 981 runners. His time of 1.21.24 also earned him second place in the male over-45s’ age category.
Meanwhile at the Lyme Park parkrun on Saturday, Buxton runners dominated, with Alasdair Campbell, Nat Winfield, Ben Light and Bryan McKenna filling the top four places for the men and juniors Lucy Bednall, Heather Wilshaw and Amy Whelan the first three female runners home.