Wiltshire Half Marathon Championships
Over two hundred and fifty runners lined up in less than ideal conditions for the Salisbury Half Marathon organised by Total Buzz Events. The 13.1 mile course leads out around the foot of Old Sarum hill fort before following an undulating route out through the Woodford Valley to Great Durnford before following the the River Avon back to the finish outside of Salisbury Firestation. This years race was also hosting the county championships for the distance as well as providing the finale of the Wiltshire Road Race League sponsored by Newsquest International, so at the sharp end a number of the counties top athletes were in the field.
Leading from the start was Michael Towler of Avon Valley Runners who had an untroubled run despite the conditions to claim victory and the county gold medal in a winning time of 1:15:45 ahead of James Gillanders of London Frontrunners and Eliot Haimes of Salisbury A&RC who took the silver. In fourth place, Gary Dunstone of Chippenham Harriers was the 1st MV40 to finish and also claimed the county bronze medal.
Making it a double championship victory for the Trowbridge based club, Ruth Barnes added to her county 10K title by winning in 1:24:21 ahead of Jo Meek from Tavistock AC. Defending county Half Marathon champion, Fiona Price of Avon Valley Runners had to settle for a silver medal this year and 2011 county Half Marathon champion, Diane Hier also of Avon Valley Runners took the bronze this time around.
In the Wiltshire Road Race League it was Avon Valley Runners who once again took maximum points to lift the First Division title for the second successive year. Devizes Running Club completed their season by taking the full 20-points and victory in Division Two and now look forward to competing in the top-flight with Frome Running Club who have also been promoted.
The leading individual scorers in the Wiltshire Road Race League were honoured with fifth placed Stuart Henderson of Corsham Running Club leaving it to the last race of the season to take the top spot ahead of the Avon Valley Runners pairing of Joby Hobbs and Thomas Coney neither of whom competed in the Salisbury Half Marathon. Jill Westwood of Avon Valley Runners secured her place at the top of the Ladies rankings after the Malmesbury Half Marathon and so had headed out to the Amsterdam Marathon and left her club mates Tina Towler and Rosemary Barber to finish second and third respectively. All of the top-10 highest scorers were recognised by Wiltshire Athletic Association along with the highest scorers in the V40, V50 & V60 age categories.
The 2014 season of the Wiltshire Road Race League which will once again be sponsored by Newsquest International will kick off on February 9th with the Longleat 10K.