Report by Don Hale. Photos courtesy of Mick Hall and NWRRC members
Records were smashed and many North Wales athletes celebrated prestigious age category wins at the re-scheduled Conwy Half Marathon last Sunday despite cool and very blustery conditions.
And it was a particularly close-run contest among the elite athletes with many of the top six positions constantly changing places as they battled their way from Conwy Castle and back via the Great Orme, with 17 runners dipping under 80 minutes over a very challenging course.
Gary Priestley (Salford Harriers) eventually claimed an overall victory with a tremendous display to win the race in 1 hour 10 minutes 28 seconds, and he was more than a minute clear of second-placed Michael Young (West Cheshire AC) in 1.12.12, with Tom Roberts (Meirionnydd RC) just 20-seconds adrift in third spot in 1.12.32.
The race also raised thousands of pounds for various charities including the event charity St David’s Hospice.
The ladies race was won by Anna Bracegirdle (Salford Harriers) for a unique club race double, and she also claimed a new course record by just 4 seconds in 1.17.48 in 10th place overall.
Steve Forsyth (Prestatyn RC) and Martin Green from NWRRC fought a keen battle for honours throughout this tough encounter.
Forsyth just finished ahead to claim 4th place and won his M40-44 age cat win in 1.13.28, but Green also topped his M45-49 age cat for 5th spot in 1.14.03.
Martin had a great run, leading his club team home and was one of four members who each won their prestigious age categories, with similar plaudits deservedly given to Martin’s wife Carla Green, who finished as the 2nd female runner, and 1st in her W45-49 cat, in addition to master veteran Kevin Slattery who won his M65-69 cat, and Kay Hatton, 1st W55-59.
NWRRC entered 22 runners and achieved some notable results among 1,745 hardy finishers. Jonathan Kettle finished 2nd in his age cat to Martin Green, but was satisfied with his performance in 12th place overall within this quality field in 1.18.36.
Carla Green was 50th overall but 2nd female and a cat winner in 1.25.11, and she was closely followed by the in-form Steve Bozier, who was 64th in 1.26.48 and knocked an amazing 4 mins 29 seconds off his previous time for a new course PB.
Stuart Culverhouse enjoyed another excellent run, and he too gained a new course PB of some two-minutes in 136th place in 1.32.32, and Kevin Slattery continued his own purple patch to finish in 196th place overall and celebrated his master class age cat win in a remarkable time of 1.36.11.
Gethin Wyn Jones ran his socks off in trying to chase down Kevin but was pleased with 208th place in 1.36.57 and was just nine seconds ahead of club rival Steve Roberts 225th in 1.37.16.
Steve Poupart finished in 318th place in 1.40.54, and Jamie Tharme enjoyed another blistering run and claimed a new PB in 414th place overall in 1.44.08, whilst Kay Hatton maintained her consistent and impressive form to win her age cat as the 49th female runner, and 417th overall in 1.44.36.
Richard Scamans finished 558th in 1.49.59, with Kevin Higgins completing a great run in 678th place overall in 1.53.56.
Hannah Griffith ran well again as the 112th female runner, 686th overall, in 1.52.57, and partially sighted athlete Daniel Owens enjoyed a steady performance to finish in 749th place overall with his guide in 1.53.56. Master vet Rob Fryer was 809th in 1.57.15, with Jon Evans leading the two-hour pace-making team home in 866th place in 1.59.21.
Cai Roberts and his partner Kelly-Marie Alford ran together in 1022nd/1023rd placings in 2.05.25, and Helen Hannam was the 256th female runner, and 1,066th overall, in 2.06.40. Vicky Taylor celebrated another gritty performance to finish 1,154th and 297th female runner in 2.10.52, whilst Rachel Morris continued her brave injury recovery battle to finish 1,651st overall, and the 603rd female, whilst running with her mum, Hilda Limacher, in 2.45.24.
Afterwards Rachel summed up the feelings of many, saying: “Best, but the hardest half I have done. I have done it three times now, and to run with my mum and cross that finishing line together made the race more enjoyable.
“It was another fab race and the marshalls were amazing and the shouts from spectators watching and passing in cars makes it all worthwhile.”
*This is the link to the provisional results from Conwy Half Marathon: