Sun, wind and hail greets the 30th running of the Waters® Wilmslow Half Marathon – report by Malcolm Fowler and Nick Bishop
This ever popular event saw every one of the elements face the runners but still there were smiles all around as the thousands of runners crossed the finish line.
In one of the closest finishes for many years just 12 seconds separated the first three runners. For race winner Mohammad Aburezeq from Altrincham & District AC, there were only smiles as he outsprinted Salford Harrier Tomas Abyu, a previous race winner, to win by the slimmest of margins… just five seconds after battling it out for over 13 miles. For the first half of the race, four runners were in contention as Anthony Ford of Sale Harriers, another previous race winner, and Michael Crawley of Corstorphine AC battled it out with the leading two before the result was narrowed down to just the leading two. Michael finished third in a time of 66 minutes and 13 seconds.
Winner Mohammad Aburezeq is £1250 better off for winning the race but the bonus of £500 for beating the course record was never threatened. The winning time this year being 66 minutes and six seconds compared with the record time of 61 minutes and 52 seconds; set by Isaac Macharia from Kenya back in 2004 (The women’s course record of 72 minutes and 2 seconds was set by Michelle Ross-Cope in 2010).
Julie Briscoe of Wakefield District Harriers won the women’s race again this year, recording a time of 75 minutes and 28 seconds and finishing 33rd overall. Alison Lavender, from Oswestry Olympians, was the second woman to finish in a time of 76 minutes and 44 seconds, followed by Kelly Crickmore from City of Chester Triathlon Club, who came second last year. Kelly finished in 77 minutes and 6 seconds.
The first male home for Wilmslow Running Club was Peter Speake in 19th place in a time of 73 minutes and 42 seconds. He finished just ahead of team mate Rob Downs who came 21st in 74 minutes and 12 seconds. For the second consecutive year, the first lady home for Wilmslow Running Club was Diane McVey, 7th lady and 93rd overall in a time of 81 minutes and 28 seconds.
The race which has had the added prestige of incorporating the England Half Marathon championships on numerous occasions, celebrated its 30th running this year… an ever present and ever popular in the race calendar except for 2001, when the race had to be cancelled due to foot and mouth disease.
One person has run each of the 30 races. Wearing race number 1, Sid Bailey of Deestriders (pictured right) in a time of one hour, fifty nine minutes and twenty four seconds finishing in 2168th place.
Roads were unusually busy this year. Due to the heavy overnight rain, the decision was taken at 5.15am on the Sunday morning that the Wilmslow Rugby Club pitches could not be used for parking, creating a major problem for the race organisers. The race committee hopes that this did not cause too much of an inconvenience to either runners or local residents.
This ever popular event, rated as one of the premiere UK half marathons, was sponsored by Waters® Corporation. Runners have raised tens of thousands of pounds for individual charities, with this year’s chosen lead charity being Stockport Cerebral Palsy Society, which supports disabled children and adults in the local community to lead a more independent life, especially those with the most complex needs.
Malcolm Fowler and Nick Bishop