Almost Perfect Weather!

Report on the 2008 Wilmslow Half Marathon by Malcolm Fowler.

The 3rd Sunday in March is generally Wilmslow Half Marathon day. But this year the 3rd Sunday was Easter Day, and with 2 inches of snow on the ground it’s a good job we didn’t hold the race on the usual Sunday.

Thankfully the following Sunday (30th March) the weather was almost ideal for the 2008 Wilmslow Half Marathon, cool and dry, but with just enough of a headwind in the early miles to give runners an excuse for disappointing times.

With the very wet weather during the preceding weeks it wasn’t possible to use our normal off-road parking so runners had to park on surrounding roads. Thankfully many runners took heed of the advice to arrive early.

The race started promptly at 10.30am and after the first mile, two runners John McFarlane from Thames Hare and Hounds and Gareth Raven from Sale Harriers, had already broken away from the field. These two runners continued side by side for another couple of miles until Gareth’s relentless 5 minute mile pace resulted in him opening up a lead which grew and grew with each passing mile resulting in him winning the race by nearly 2 minutes. With this win coming just a week after his convincing win in the Salford 10K he is clearly the man in form at the moment.

John McFarlane paid for his early pace and eventually finished in 5th place, being caught by Philip Hoole (Rotherham Harriers), James Lawler (Bedford & County) and Thomas Cornthwaite (Blackburn Harriers), 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively.

In the Ladies race Michelle Ross was the clear winner in 72:40 only 6 seconds outside the course record which she shares with Yelena Burykina. There was however a close race for the next few places with Wendy Nicholls (Cirencester), Susie Bush (Aldershot) and Nicky Archer (Vale Royal) seperated by less than a minute and finishing 2nd,3rd and 4th respectively.

It was good to see previous two times winner Andy Green competing again. Andy won the race in 1994 and 1995, on both occasions recording a sub 65 minute time. Nowadays at the age of 45yrs he is a little slower, but still managed 16th place and 1st V45 in a time of 74:28

Mike Halman was once again the first Wilmslow Runner, finishing 7th in a time of 71:49

There was the usual mix of runners taking part, elite runners looking for a fast time and other runners who were happy just to complete the course and raise as much as they could for charity.

There was a quite an assortment of runners in fancy dress with pirates, ostriches and rhino’s being some of the more noticeable ones.

Red Cross were once again kept busy treating casualties.

Finally I must mention the achievement of Wilmslow’s Ron Reed. For several years we have wondered whether any runner over 80yrs old would ever finish the Wilmslow Half Marathon. Ron at 80yrs old tried but failed last year. Determined not to give up he had another go this year and at the age of 81yrs old became the oldest ever finisher of the race. Now there’s a target for everyone to aim for!