Runners take the pain for town’s 15th challenge

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The 15th Blackpool Marathon and Half Marathon was greeted by overcast and sometimes drizzly weather but this did not deter the 1,500-plus starters outside the resort’s Hilton Hotel.

Manchester United goalkeeping greatAlex Stepney started the Promenade-base race, run between South Shore and Cleveleys.

Blackpool Marathon and Half-Marathon.

Blackpool Marathon and Half-Marathon.

The half-marathon soon developed into a three-way battle, with Coventry Godiva Harriers’ Damian Carr striding clear in the final mile to win in 76minutes, 2secs, from Pencoed Cardiff’s Joseph Beech (77.1) and Eden Runners’ (Lakeland) Stuart Reed (78.06).

Joe Greenwood, of Lytham St Annes Road Runners, was the first Fylde coast club athlete home in seventh place in 82.03.

The women’s race was won convincingly byYork AC’s Emma Ballantyne in 86.31, with Eden Runners’ (Lakeland) Karen Bridge second (93.38) and Bolton Tri Club runner Liz McLellan third (94.42).

The men’s marathon was won very impressively by Ely Cardiff runner Criag Holgate in a time of 2hrs, 34mins, 52 secs.

Sutton In Ashfield’s Carl Allwood was second in 2.46.32 and Alastaire Payne from Taunton third (2.51.40).

The women’s winner over the 26-mile distance was Portobell Running Club’s Melanie Evans in 3.13 .27 seconds, some 10 minutes clear of Rachel Evans from Run4All RC (3.23.06). Third was the unattached runner Alison Cottam in 3.33.16.

Organisers Fylde Coast Running thanked the 130-strong army of volunteers and staff for braving the conditions to marshal and steward the whole route, Hilton Blackpool forsupporting the event and Remote Medical Services.

The next Fylde Coast Running event is Sunday’s Fleetwood 10k race from the Marine Hall, starting at 10.30am.