They say distance runners peak as they get older and this certainly was the case in Lytham St Annes this weekend at the West Coast Half Marathon. Paul Muller, 59, proved that age is no barrier when securing victory in an impressive 1:20:05, while Glenn Savage, 54, took third place.
Starting in Preston, the flat, point-to-point course passed through Preston Docks and onto the Guild Wheel. From there, runners moved through Freckleton into Warton then onto Lytham St Annes for a grand finish at Fairhaven Lake.
Sunday represented the first staging of the race, which was organised by Fylde Coast Runners. Paul, who runs with Horwich RMI Harriers, has been in fine form throughout 2016 and has frequently fronted the field at Lytham Hall parkrun. He finished Sunday's half some 21 seconds ahead of James Tingle (1:20:26), with Sale Harriers’ Glenn Savage in third (1:20:42). Claire Howard, 45, secured top billing in the women’s competition in 1:29:30.
Surprisingly, Paul posted a faster half marathon time earlier this year at the Four Villages Half, when he ran a 1:19:40. His quickest times over 13.1 miles during the past three years have been frighteningly consistent – 78:25 in 2013, 78:12 in 2014 and 79:56 in 2015 – and speak of someone who lives for the sport.
Organisers were quick to congratulate Sunday’s winner: “Paul Muller has been a regular at Fylde Coast Running events since....Well, let's just say kilometers weren't the norm. And medals? Nope, no medal, just a pat on the back. As for electronic/chip timing!”
Full results of the West Coast Half Marathon are available here.
Check out more photos from the West Coast Half at Mick Hall Photos.