29th Wilmslow Half Marathon, Sunday 24th March. Report by Malcolm Fowler and Nick Bishop

What a difference a year makes! Twelve months ago, the Wilmslow Half Marathon was run in temperatures of over 20 degrees and runners were collapsing with heat exhaustion  due to the unseasonably warm weather.

This year with 36 hours of snow forecast leading up to the race and many parts of the country buried under a foot or more of snow, there was concern as to whether the race would actually take place. Fortunately Wilmslow was spared the snow but instead shivered in the arctic cold and biting wind.

This year runners were wrapped up in extra layers to keep out the chill and the race organisers had purchased 4,000 space blankets to prevent hypothermia.

The end result was another very successful staging of the Wilmslow Half Marathon, now in its 29th year, with tens of thousands of pounds raised for individual charities and with the main beneficiary for 2013 being the “East Cheshire Hospice” in Macclesfield.

By the first mile a group of six which included previous winners Andi Jones and Tomas Abyu, already had a 50 metre lead over the rest of the field.

This group worked together with various runners taking the lead until around halfway when Joe MacDonald, Cardiff AC opened up a slight gap on the rest of the group. Nobody wanted, or was able to go with him and by the 10 mile mark he had a lead of around 100 metres over Ben Fish (Blackburn Harriers), Pat Martin (Stockport Harriers) and Mark Buckingham (Holmfirth Harriers).

Although Joe MacDonald runs for Cardiff AC he was brought up in Wilmslow and is a former pupil at Ashdene Primary School.

Joe maintained his lead over the last three miles eventually finishing in 1:04:54,  30 seconds ahead of Pat Martin with Ben Fish 3rd.

By a remarkable co-incidence, especially considering the totally different weather conditions, Joe’s winning time was identical to the winning time of Tony Ford last year.

First lady home was Julie Briscoe of Wakefield Harriers in 27th place overall and a time of 75.15. Second home was Kelly Crickmore of City of Chester Tri Club in 77.05, and third Louise Gardner of Lancaster and Morecombe in 77.10.

The Wilmslow Half Marathon is grateful for the continued support of sponsors Waters Corporation, Etihad Airways and specialist running shop Running Bear of Alderley Edge.

Congratulations to all that took part and special thanks to all the volunteers, marshals and local residents who help to support the race and create the atmosphere on race day that helps to ensure the continued success of the Wilmslow Half Marathon.