The Spire Healthcare English Half Marathon witnessed its biggest turnout to date with almost 2,500 runners taking part in Sunday's race. The event, celebrating its fifth year, began with a spectacular entrance by the RAF parachute display team, who descended 10,000 feet ahead of the 9am start.
The course took runners from a picturesque, tree-lined start point at Victoria Park through the southern communities of Warrington. Leading the field home was Mat Rushbrook in a time of 1:14:04, with Sheffield Running Club's Will Beauchamp closely following (1:14:19). South Cheshire Harriers' Craig Mooney rounded off the top trio of male runners (1:17:42).
In the women's competition, Law and District's Hilary McGrath made the successful step-up to half-marathon distance with a winning time of 1:25:54, with Karen Erlandson (1:30:08) following.
Now under the direction of Warrington local Rob Griffiths, the Spire Healthcare Half Marathon has received considerable interest since changing hands last year. Post-race comments seem to be very positive, with one runner posting on the event Facebook page: "Great event today. Well organised and well marshalled. Thanks to all the volunteers. Lovely medal and fab Tech T-shirt that actually fits. Result!
Speaking after the race, Rob commented: "I am absolutely overwhelmed by how well the event went. The buzz in the park when the RAF Falcons parachuted in really set the tone for the rest of the day. We have agreed a provisional date of 7th September for next year with the council. I am keen to get the paperwork agreed with UK Athletics and Warrington Borough Council in the next few days with the view to open entries by the end of this month."