First ever Shrewsbury Marathon is hailed a big success

[gallery] Shrewsbury's first marathon was today hailed a "massive success" after thousands of runners were cheered on by crowds of enthusiastic well-wishers who lined the streets.

Shrewsbury’s first marathon begins in The Quarry park, at 9.20am on June 23, 2013 – 20 minutes later than planned. Telford runner Wayne Dashper – number 2832 – was the eventual winner in a time of 2hr 50min 45sec.
Shrewsbury’s first marathon begins in The Quarry park, at 9.20am on June 23, 2013 – 20 minutes later than planned. Telford runner Wayne Dashper – number 2832 – was the eventual winner in a time of 2hr 50min 45sec.

The town was buzzing with colourful banners, excited applause and shouts of support as 2,750 athletes pounded the roads during the sell-out event.

Even rain showers could not dampen the spirits of those determined to crack the half and full marathons yesterday.

Runners were raring to go at The Quarry start line but the 9am start was delayed by 20 minutes as officials awaited confirmation of road closures.

And the first man and woman past the finish line were husband and wife Oliver and Hilary Mott, who completed the half marathon in one hour and 10 minutes and one hour 28 minutes respectively.

Shrewsbury born and bred Oliver, 28, travelled from Cheltenham to run in his hometown's first marathon.

Jubilant winners of the full marathon were Wayne Dashper, 38, of Woodside, Telford, and Becky Lewis, 32, of Ellesmere. Meanwhile, it was "a very emotional event" for dozens of police officers supporting the new charity set up in memory of Telford teenager Georgia Williams.

The Bobbies team wore a specially made blue running kit, in tribute to one of Georgia's favourite colours, bearing a photograph of the 17-year-old on the front.

Georgia's parents Steven and Lynnette and her older sister Scarlett were overwhelmed as they hugged each member of the team as they came back over the finish line.

"A couple have said Georgia was pushing them up the hill," said Lynnette.

The town's mayor Jon Tandy congratulated tired participants at the finish line before presenting the trophies. He said: "It's a massive success. I can't wait until next year when I want there to be 5,000 runners. Let's make this something we hold every year."

The races were organised by Market Drayton based company In the Running, who said last week they had been "overwhelmed" with the enthusiasm for the new event.

In the Running's director, David Downes said the marathon and half marathon had completely sold out with all 2,750 running spots taken up.

The uptake for Shrewsbury is larger than the first Edinburgh Marathon, launched in 2003, which attracted 2,700 runners.

Last year the Scottish race had nearly 10,000 participants

Four-page picture special in today's Shropshire Star and full results in tomorrow

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