THE long-standing best time for the Swindon Half Marathon was smashed yesterday as a record number of runners pounded the streets of Swindon in Britain’s Olympic year.
A total of 1,930 runners tackled the 13.1-mile course, beating the previous highest total of 1,918 two years ago, while entries for the five-mile multi-terrain race and two-mile fun run stood at 283 and 412 respectively.
Despite the Met Office predicting heavy rain and strong winds, the conditions turned out to be dry and calm, ideal for runners to achieve personal a best on the circuit, which was officially started by Robbins skipper Alan McCormack.
Dan Roper, 27, of Cheltenham, crossed the finish line in Pipers Way in a record 1h 9m 40s, toppling the previous fastest time of 1h 11m 18s set by Olympian Matt O’Dowd in 2004.
Dan, a Cheltenham Harriers running club member, said: “It was a good start, a fast start for me, but once I got to seven miles I started to think it’s good and I built the excitement.”
Second place went to Alec Leslie, 29, of Old Town, who finished in 1h 15m 4s.
Alex, a member of Swindon Striders running club, said: “I’m pretty pleased with that. I’m running quite strongly at the moment. It’s good there were lots of supportive people in the streets.”
The fastest woman was Sam Kelly, 46, of Royal Wootton Basset, with a time of 1h 28m 23s.
The mother-of-two, a member of Wootton Bassett Hounds running club, said: “I’m so pleased. I just seem to be doing very well quite lately with my half marathons and I don’t know why it is. The support along the way keeps you going.”
In other races, Sara Greaves, 45, of Rodbourne, who has previously completed the half marathon, did the two-mile fun run on crutches after breaking an ankle in a fall outside of a shop in February.
She was joined by her husband Kevin and son Farrleigh. She said: “It was a complex break so I just thought I would never walk again. So just to be able to walk and to finish that means so much.”
Hundreds of pounds in sponsorship was also raised for charity on the day.