The combined appeal of the Waters Wilmslow Half Marathon’s status as one of the North West’s premier events and its reputation as a key charity fundraiser saw another massive turnout on Sunday (19 March). Over 3,000 competitors took part in what was to be an eventful day with a thrilling finish at the front and a Guinness World Record being set for the fastest half marathon run backwards.
Staged for over 30 years, the event is regularly voted one of the top half marathons in the UK. The counter-clockwise, predominantly flat course took runners through the leafy lanes of Wilmslow and Mobberley – heavy rain and wind meant that a race known for its PB potential proved trickier this year.
Altrincham & District AC’s Mohammad Abu-Rezeq repeated his 2014 success after a close contest with Matt Bond, while Andrew Davies took third (1:07:30). Abu-Rezeq (1:06:25) finished six seconds ahead of the Sale Harrier to add to his victory at January’s Four Villages Half.
He later told us about his admiration, and preparation, for the race: “I have been clocking up over 100 miles in training recently. I love this race a lot – it is always organised to a high level. I wanted a new time but the conditions weren’t quite appropriate for doing so.”
Fanni Gyurko improved upon her third place showing at last year’s race to record victory in the women’s field in 1:18:08. The Central AC runner was over one minute ahead of Alison Lavendar (1:19:30), with Dionne Allen in third (1:20:31). Midpoint in the field was Nicola Brundrett in 1:53:29, while the last competitor crossed the line in 3:08:50.
While no course records were broken, the Waters Wilmslow Half Marathon could well have been the site of a new WR. Shantelle Gaston-Hird (pictured) completed the entire 13.1 miles running backwards in a time of 2:27:09, some 20 minutes quicker than the previous record (subject to ratification). Her remarkable feat was run in aid of anti-bullying charity BulliesOut.