2002 Race Report

all:sports Wilmslow Half Marathon 24th March 2002

Follow the links at the top of the page for race results and photos

Malcolm’s Race Report:

The 2002 all:sports Wilmslow Half Marathon was the largest and the fastest race in its 18 year history. 3820 entries were accepted for the race of which almost 3,000 completed the 13.1 mile course.

Whilst most runners were still in bed, race organisers were busy on the course, putting up mile markers, warning signs, balloons and erecting the start and finish gantries.

At this time there was quite a strong breeze which would have slowed the runners down, but by the time the starting gun was fired at 10.30am the wind had dropped and the runners were able to compete in ideal cool, dry, calm conditions.

From the start it was clear the Kenyan runners meant business. With the first mile completed in 4 minutes 44 seconds and the second mile in 4 minutes 40 seconds the only athletes other than Kenyans prepared to go with this pace were; Warrington based athlete Nick Jones, who was defending champion and course record holder, and David Taylor from Blackheath Harriers.

The leading group remained intact until the 3 mile mark when Michael Rotich took the lead. Rotich, 24yrs old, from Marakwet, Kenya then injected a 4 minute 21 second 4th mile which completely blasted the leading group apart. The only other runner able to live with this pace was Bernard Kangogo and they both remained together until 8 miles into the race. Kangogo is another Kenyan from Marakwet and despite only being 19yrs old he certainly can go go! he already has a 10K P.B. of 28 minutes 31 seconds. Jones meanwhile was some 100 metres behind and being chased by John Mutai (previous Great North Run winner), William Musyoki and Kasse Tadessa.

At around 9 miles Rotich (pictured above right) managed to open up a 20 metre lead over Kangogo which he gradually increased until the finish smashing the previous course record by 54 seconds and claiming the £1,000 first prize and £500 bonus for beating the course record.

Kangogo finished 2nd and William Musyoki, 2002 Seville Marathon Champion, managed to outsprint Nick Jones for 3rd. Jones although having to settle for 4th place did have the consolation of beating his previous best time and achieving the World Half Marathon Championship qualifying time. With David Taylor finishing strongly to claim 5th place the first 5 athletes all beat the old course record.

In the Ladies race there was a tremendous tussle between Russian athlete Yelena Burykina (pictured left) and Kenyan Cath Mutwa with Burykina just outsprinting Mutwa by half a stride although both athletes were awarded the same time of 73 minutes 33 seconds which was 7 seconds inside the previous female record.

Local club Altrincham managed to win both the male and female team prizes and a special mention must go to Wilmslow Running Clubs elder statesman Ron Reed who was the first ‘Over 75’ to finish.

Hundreds of runners were raising money for their favourite charities including 190 who were raising money for this years official race charity the ‘M.A.S.T. Hospital Appeal’

Malcolm Fowler (Race Organiser)