A RECORD entry of 1,300 contested the 30th anniversary running of the Great North-West Half-Marathon in Blackpool.
Conditions were vastly improved from last year’s strong winds, with only a slight north wind.
Starting at race headquarters, the Hilton Hotel, the runners headed south to North Pier, then turned for Little Bispham. They then returned to the Hilton after a loop of Gynn Square.
Besides record numbers, the race also attracted top athletes. Winner Luke Cragg travelled over from Mansfield to complete the course in a very quick 68mins, 54secs.
Hot on his heels was Royston Road Runners’ Ian McBride, with a very respectable 69.01, followed by clubmate Stuart Carrol in third (75.06). V40 Stuart was also the winning veteran. The first local finisher was the prolific Paul Muller, seventh overall and a comfortable V50 winner in 76.28.
Cleveleys decorator Pete Cruse, wearing the vest of Lytham St Annes Road Runners, was the first local club finisher in 78.54.
A new name but one we will be hearing more of in future is Blackpool Wyre & Fylde’s Harry Poole, who ran a very credible 81.02.
The winning lady was Helen Waugh, who stormed to the front from the off and proved too strong for the chasing pack, finishing in 82.59.
Wesham Road Runners then dominated the remaining places, with Joanne Goorney second in 87.57 and first vet (V40). The ever-improving Helen Lawrenson smashed her personal best and finished third overall in 89.08. Clubmate Emma Lund also had a PB (89.58) as she trains for her first London Marathon.
BWF’s John Oliver smashed his best time, with 82.04, followed by clubmates Uber Cirelli 83.01 and Bev Wright (first V50) 92.03. There was also notable performances from Brandon Willoughby 95.34, James Hewell 95.30, Willie Richmond 96.34, Nicola Unsworth 98.13, Kath Hoyer 101.00 and Sara Ward 102.00
>> The Stanley Park 10K race on Sunday week has a full entry list of 350.