Freckleton Half-marathon a runaway success

Joanna Goorney won the ladies' race

Joanna Goorney won the ladies' race

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Britain’s oldest half-marathon can still lay claim to being the best after this year’s Freckleton running spectacular.

The 52nd Freckleton Half-marathon was completed by 488 runners and included many leading athletes from around the Fylde coast and beyond.

The 13-mile race, starting and finishing as ever on Bush Lane playing fields, was won by David Rigby of Salford Harriers in 69mins, 24secs.

Last year’s champion and nine-time winner Ben Fish of Blackburn Harriers had to settle for sixth place this time and sportingly shook hands with his successor at the end.

Wesham Road Runners’ Rob Danson was second in 70.49, with John Mason (not attached to a club) third in 71.27.

The 40th ladies’ race was won by Joanna Goorney of Lytham St Annes Road Runners for the second time in 88.38 (41st overall).

Joanna remains the only Freckleton resident to have won the race and she formed part of the winning LSARR ladies’ team alongside Felicity Wolohan and Claire England.

Just 10 seconds separated second lady Karen Bridge of Eden Runners (90.34) and third-placed Gemma Snape of Tri-Preston, who were 57th and 59th respectively.

The first veteran was Preston’s Rob Affleck (vet40, eighth place) in 72.51, while Wesham’s James Mulvany finished in the top 10 ( 77.16), and LSA’s Joe Greenwood (79.51) and Wesham’s David Taylor (81.33) in the top 20. The race started in drizzle and the rain became heavier as the race progressed, something which suited ladies’ winner Goorney.

She told The Gazette: “The race can be rather hot some years but the rain helps to keep the runners cool.

“I take part every year and it’s always very friendly and well organised, with a good community atmosphere.”

Joanna was delighted to receive her prize from Veronique Marot of Leeds City AC, whose ladies’ course record of 72.56 has stood unchallenged since 1988.