Athletes able to chill out
Hundreds of runners took on the Owler Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k on Sunday, in temperatures that stayed in single figures and a wind chill that made for a bitterly cold day.
Runners came from far and wide to Ashford’s Julie Rose Stadium where the races started and finished and they enjoyed the beautiful views of surrounding countryside as they ran in the quiet back roads near Hinxhill.
The three races were part trail and part road, with some particularly muddy areas around Conningbrook Lake.
First home in the Owler Marathon was Michael Burke, of Haywards Heath Harriers, who completed the testing course in 3hr 16min 14sec.
The first lady was also second overall – Melanie Staley finishing in 3:17.46. She was followed in third spot by Mark Hokan (3:24.03) who was the second male finisher. Glenn Burgess, of the 100 Marathon Club UK, completed the men’s podium, coming home in 3:27.21.
Second lady home was Kate Mitchell in 3:45.53, with Hannah Pilbeam third in 4:05.49.
The half marathon was more closely contested, with Phil Hoyland (Folkestone Running Club) taking top honours in 1:20.33, with Nick Collins, of Torq, just one second behind in 1:20.34 and Bernard King finishing third in 1:22.25.
For the ladies in the half-marathon, first home was Aurelie Morris in 1:46.29, with Dana Kelly second in 1:47.16 and Philippa Britton third in 1:47.51.
The 10k event was won by Phillip Gomm in 44.30, with Shaun Tunga, of VRUK, second in 45.00, and Rory Hughes third in 46.40.
Gill Pragnell, of Ashford & District RRC, won the ladies’ event in 48.35, with Victoria Holdom second in 49.52 and Karen Thompson, of Haywards Heath Harriers, third in 49.57.
Tri Spirit Team members competed in some of the events.
Andy Stewart took on the half marathon despite feeling below par, yet still managed to finish in 1:46.25.
Steve and Jacqui Maxted ran the 10k just a couple of weeks after taking on what is reputed to be the world’s toughest road marathon in Athens.
Steve finished in 56.21, with Jacqui not far behind in 58.31. Their son Jozef Maxted and his partner Gemma Vincent also took on the 10k, with both crossing the line in 1:03.49. Darren also Clark finished in 58.18.
Liz King, event director for Tri Spirit Events, said: “The smiles and enthusiasm were both high all day, even though the temperatures most definitely were not.
“All of the runners and marshals seemed to enjoy the day and many said they will return next year, which is testament to how well all of the marshals and helpers did.
“It was also kind of the Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Winston Michael, to spend so much time at the finish line speaking to competitors and congratulating them.”
The Owler Marathon takes a lap of the track at the Julie Rose Stadium on Sunday