The seemingly unstoppable Ed Banks claimed a fourth successive victory at yesterday’s Berkhamsted Half Marathon as he led home the field of more than a thousand runners.
A total of 1,106 competitors turned out for the half marathon – organised by the Rotary Club of Berkhamsted Bulbourne – with 418 runners also tackling the five-mile fun run, in cold and overcast but dry conditions.
The 13.1 mile-route winds through the beautiful Chiltern countryside, starting and finishing at Berkhamsted Cricket Club. The course is particularly hilly at the start, including Little Heath Lane and Bulbeggars Lane, but finishes with a nice mile-long downhill to the finish.
Birmingham Running, Athletics and Triathon Club representative Banks came home in first place in a time of 1hr, 12m and 17s – just seven seconds clear of Dacorum & Tring AC’s Jack Parslow who clocked 1:12:25.
Paul Adams claimed third place in 1:12:56, while Steve Hallas completed the top-four with his time of 1:17:10.
The first woman across the line was Nicola Sykes who clocked an impressive finishing time of 1:20:19, while Mairead O’Rourke was second lady home in 1:22:35.
Wendy Webster was third female finisher in 1:25:01, with Zoe Doyle not far behind her in 1:25:25.
Sykes broke the women’s course record by nearly four minutes – finishing exactly eight minutes behind men’s winner Banks, for the narrowest margin between the top man and woman in the race’s recent history.
Sykes, who is hoping for a sub-three hour time in next month’s Virgin London Marathon, also recorded a new PB in Berkhamsted, beating her previous best by more than two minutes.
She took home the £100 first prize, sponsored by Dacorum & Tring AC – the first time that equal prize money has been offered to the top three men and women in both the half marathon and the fun run.
The coveted Team Shield, meanwhile, was won by the St Albans Striders who sent a strong contingent of runners to the race.
The winner of the fun run was Ben Rochford who came home in 27m and 14s, ahead of Graham Smith in 28:40 and Thomas Rayner in 29:07.
Catherine Davies once again led the way for the ladies, clocking a time of 34:38 – 13 seconds ahead of second lady finisher Chloe Dearman.
Emily Alderson was third for the ladies in a time of 34:56.
This year’s race also featured the inaugural Schools Challenge, with a £250 prize up for grabs for the top boys’ and girls’ teams from competing secondary schools.
Berkhamsted School emerged victorious in the boys’ category, while Ashlyns School took the crown in the girls’ section.
For a full list of results from yesterday’s races, please visit www.chipresults.co.uk