Here's to you, Mr Robinson

It's snow joke being the race organiser of the Great North West Half-Marathon, staged for the eighth time on Blackpool Promenade yesterday.

The route again had to be altered and remeasured because of roadworks.

Then at 5am a blanket of snow covered the Prom, resulting in a 9am inspection before the course was deemed safe, with bags of grit spread over potentially hazardous points.

The racers started on the Middle Walk, opposite race the Hilton Hotel and headed north, doubling back at Anchorsholme along the Lower Walk.

Almost a thousand hardy souls completed the two-lap course, though the weather deterred some of the 1,200 entrants from starting.

Stuart Robinson of Blackpool Wyre Fylde AC made light work of the melting snow underfoot to win by more than a minute in 69mins, 36secs.

This was an excellent effort by a runner deep into high mileage training for the London Marathon.

Matt Nuttall of Blackburn Harriers was second in 70.42, with James Bulman of North Yorks A third (73.48).

Stuart's clubmate Gemma Unsworth was first woman in 82.22, 47 seconds ahead of Barrow and Furness athlete Louise Kelly. Karin Bridge of Eden Runners was third in 86.17 and the leading woman veteran.

Paul Muller was the first over-50 and fifth overall in an outstanding 75.59.

Other strong performers among Fylde club runners Steve Waterhouse of BWF in 79.07, and the Wesham Road Runners quartet of Brian Yates (80.38), Troy Watson (84.07), Colin Whaites (86.37) and Simon Eaton (87.43).

Leading the way for Lytham St Annes Road Runners was Gavin Brandie in 87.00, while clubmate Mel Koth ran a storming 92.34.