Last year’s winner Vito Graffagnino paid for an early burst of adrenaline in front of the cameras as he was unable to repeat his success at Sunday’s Slaughterford 9 event in Rudloe.
The 28-year-old from Bristol, who runs for Clevedon AC, is being filmed for a TV documentary ahead of his entry in the feared Tough Guy endurance event this weekend in Wolverhampton.
However a deluge of overnight rain made conditions difficult and, in an effort to impress, Graffagnino set off too quickly causing him to suffer late on in the race and be overtaken by better-prepared runners as he finished fourth overall, out of the 361 runners.
“He holds the course record but the conditions made it hard on everyone,” said race organiser Rob Field, of Chippenham Harriers.
“Everyone’s times were at least two minutes down on last year.
“You could tell Vito was struggling as he stripped his shirt off half-way round because he was too hot, although I think the female marshals might have enjoyed it.”
The men’s race was won by Eliot Challifour of the VOEWO club, in a time of 56.32 mins, while the women’s event was won by Lynette Porter of Bitton Road Runners Club in a time of 1:06.22, breaking the previous female over 45s record.
Despite the hazardous conditions there were no serious injuries and Field is already looking forward to the next event, which is always held on the last Sunday in January.
“Thankfully the rain held off on the morning, although it was still wet underfoot, and it went really well,” he said. “Absolutely swimmingly, you could say.”
n Due to the success of last year’s Chippenham Half Marathon another one has been arranged for September 13, 2009. Entries will open in early February. Log onto chippenhamhalfmarathon.co.uk