Andy Vernon prevailed in the much-anticipated battle of Britain at Sunday’s (14 October) Manchester Half Marathon, with the experienced runner defeating Luke Traynor to claim victory. Despite grey skies and wet conditions, the half recorded its highest turnout to date, with race CEO Nick Rusling stating: “This event is now firm part of the running calendar and Manchester fitness scene.”
At the top end of the competition, Andy Vernon established a lead at the 10k mark and never let go. The Aldershot, Farnham & District international crossed the line in 63:36 – setting a course record, even in the testing conditions – just over 20 seconds quicker than Traynor (63:59). Kieran Clements, in what was his half marathon debut, delivered an extremely impressive performance with third in 64:31.
It is difficult to assess the impact of the weather on Sunday’s performances,. In addition Traynor, with a PB of 61:55, set at Barcelona earlier this year, also revealed that he was struggling with a niggle during the race.
The Giffnock North AC athlete commented: “Another tough run for me today at #mcrhalf. Plantar pain at half way so eased off the pace. Now for a few days rest in order to get healthy and focus on the little things.”
Despite not having competed over 13.1 miles since 2013, Leigh Harriers’ Lauren Howarth was a convincing winner in the female competition in 74:13, a PB of close to two minutes. Hallamshire Harriers’ Calli Thackery claimed second in 75:33, with Rachel Felton rounding off the top trio of performers in 76:49.
Howarth later tweeted: “Thanks to all the team @ManchesterHalf , volunteers and spectators on the course for making the race a great experience. So chuffed to come away with 1st lady. Loved racing and raising money for @bowelcanceruk #MCRHalf.”
Even in tough autumnal conditions, many in the 10,000 strong field posted PBs at what is known to be one of the fastest and flattest courses in the UK.