On the day 35,000 runners descended on the capital for the 2016 Virgin London Marathon – including a disappointed Shelly Woods – some 2,000 opted instead for Blackpool, which staged its 15th marathon, together with a half-marathon and 10k race.
Blackpool, which staged its 15th marathon, together with a half-marathon and 10k race.
Fylde wheelchair racer Woods’ bid for a third London triumph in the women’s race ended early – just as it had last year – with a puncture.
The race was always likely to challenge the St Annes-based 29-year-old just six days after completing the Boston Marathon.
Woods had hoped for an impressive performance to boost her bid to represent Great Britain at a third successive Paralympics this summer and add to her three medals.
Her all-conquering American rival Tatyana McFadden won the race for a fourth consecutive year in 1:44.14.
In Blackpool, organisers experimented with a new strategy as runners in the three races set off in different directions from the Middle Walk, opposite the Imperial Hotel, with the marathon and half-marathon courses merging on the Promenade after three miles.
There were excellent results in all the races from the first finisher to the last – 70-year-old Anastasia Lincoln from the Idle club in West Yorkshire completed her 89th marathon in 6hrs, 43mins.
The marathon was won by Simon Saxby of Wolds Vets in 2.43.07, with Stuart Temple of Slinn All Stars second (2.48.19) and the unattached Martin Proctor third (2.48.47).
The leading lady and sixth overall was Isobel Rea of West 4 Harriers in 2.55.39
The half-marathon winner was Gary Wallace of Blackhill Bounders in 1.14.07, with Gareth Pritchard of Elvet Striders second (1.15.17) and Jack Heathwood of Bellahouston third (1.15.21).
Martha Hanby (unattached) won the women’s race in 1.23.51.
Joe Greenwood of Lytham St Annes Road Runners was 11th in the half-marathon in 1.21.25, while Nigel Shepherd led the way for Fylde coast club runners in the marathon. The over-55 veteran from Wesham Road Runners finished 48th in 3.25.23.
The 10k was won by Clayton-le-Moors’ Danny Collinge in 32.21, with Adam Slodowicz of Salford Harriers second (33.28) and evergreen Horwich RMI runner Paul Muller third (35.59).
Helen Sehgal of Mersey Tri was first lady in 37.26.
Race director Lewis McAndrew of Fylde Coast Running thanked the 150-strong army of stewards, marshals and volunteers, as well as the Remote Medical team, Tony Bolton Sports for providing the many prizes, Blackpool Council’s street cleaning team and the many spectators who cheered the runners on.
One sad note was the theft of a medic’s bicycle and medical bag near the Norbreck Castle. Anyone with information is asked to contact police or FCR Events.