Nottingham and the popular Ikano Bank Robin Hood Half-Marathon was host to this year’s England Half Marathon Championships and two new worthy England Champions emerged from yesterday’s race.
Racing conditions were perfect with the weather cool, but not cold, still and dry and the runners able to focus on the 13.1 miles without too much distraction.
The race got off to a smooth start with a band of around 12,000 merry men and women making their way along the Victoria Embankment and towards the city centre before heading West towards Wollaton Park.
Amongst the elite club runners, local man Alastair Watson (Notts AC) with a best of 65:41 and Sophie Cowper (Rotherham Harriers & AC, Gary Warhurst) best of 76:24, were on paper favourites to win, however in both cases they had to settle for the runner-up spot, with two new champions seizing the day.
Highgate Harrier Chris Rainsford who has shown great from over all racing surfaces and a range of distances in 2018, added the Half-Marathon to his performances for the year. With a ninety second lead over Watson to finish in a forty-five second personal best of 67:54 on a hilly course this was a fine run by Rainsford.
Local favourite Watson was disappointed with his run in his 9th Robin Hood Half, but was still smiling at the end despite admitting to finding the going tough on this occasion but still dipped under the 70 minute barrier to finish in 69:28. Fellow Notts AC club mate Anthony Woodward (Mark Perry) finished third in 71:22.
In the women’s race it was Sale Harrier’s Katherine Wood who has only been running seriously for a couple of years and smashed her personal best by nearly 2 ½ minutes to run a very fine 77:34 with over a minute to spare. Second placed Sophie Cowper finished in 78:46 and nonetheless was upbeat about her performance having just embarked on her first week of lectures as medical student. Charlotte Firth (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow AC, Conrad Milton) took the third placed spot in 83:37.
England Athletics Road Running Manager, Charlotte Fisher said “It was great to see two new race winners, smashing their personal bests on a challenging course and be rewarded as England Champions today. A big thank you to the organisers of the Ikano Bank Robin Hood Half Marathon for hosting the championships.”
Photos by Chris Holme