Over 1100 runners made their way to the famous Oulton Park racing circuit in Cheshire for the fifth edition of the ASICS Oulton Park Half Marathon and 10K on Sunday (25 February). The field were treated to bright skies and crisp conditions and saw Gemma Connolly break her own course record, set in 2015, by over two and a half minutes.
The track, built into the contours of the Cheshire countryside, is regarded as one of England’s most picturesque motor racing circuits. Runners in the half marathon covered six laps with 10k competitors tackling three.
At 10am, the 10k participants set off, with Andrew Miles from Vale Royal AC grabbing first in 33:42, followed by Peter Butler (34:34) and Jack Schofield (34:37). In the women’s race, Helen Sahgal of Mersey Tri Club won with an impressive time of 38:55, coming ahead of Sarah Hunter and Melanie Johnson with their respective times of 42:53 and 43:53.
While there was a suggestion that Matt Shaw from Salford Harriers may be in line to break the course record, it was Gemma Connolly who grabbed the headlines with a fantastic performance. The St. Helen’s runner crossed the line in 1:19:00, giving her fourth place overall. Catharine Young 1:28:32 and Rachel Gavin (1:32:54) were her closest rivals.
Shaw, meanwhile, did take first but failed to put the current course record in any danger—coming home in 1:12:30. He was around two minutes off Tom Charles’ current best mark of 1:10:38. Timmy Davies (1:18:50) and Patrick Babb (1:18:57) claimed second and third place.