Tears and cheers as Oswestry 10k run makes welcome return to the streets

There were tears and cheers on the streets of Oswestry as the town's 10k race returned following last year's enforced absence.

The Oswestry 10k begins
The Oswestry 10k begins

Runners spoke of their joy at seeing the cheering crowds out along the route of the race and of the encouragement it gives them to keep pounding the streets.

First across the line was Jim Hickinbottom, aged 38, of Shrewsbury Athletic Club in 34 minutes and 19 seconds.

"It was great to see so many people out lining the route and it is great to be racing again," said Jim.

The 2019 time of 31:44 set by Felix Mcgrath was not under threat this year.

Jim Hickinbottom is the first to cross the line
Runners hitting the streets of Oswestry

Although the conditions at the start and finish line at the park gates, in Church Street, were damp and overcast, Jim said the course was a tough one because of the wind and uphill sections at the three-to-four mile mark.

First woman home was Builth and District runner Donna Morris, aged 38, in 37:49. Donna was just 18 seconds short of the time Claire Martin set in 2019.

"Running in front of people does make a difference," she said. "It keeps you going - if you hear the cheers and encouragement, it brings out the adrenaline."

Race organiser Alan Lewis, a former triathlon athlete from Oswestry, said he had a big lump in his throat when the runners set off at 9am.

"It's been a really good day," he said. "We've had entrants from all over the UK.

"It is amazing to be back and I felt so emotional. I did shed a few tears," said Alan.

This year the route went around Hope House Children's Hospice, in Morda, which is the chosen charity for Alan and his team at Adrenaline Sporting Events, giving it an extra emotional pull and some extra cheers.

Runners at the Oswestry 10k
Town crier Phil Brown with, from left, Lisa Soden, Carrie Sayce and Ceri Roberts
William Worthing in Minion fancy dress
Chris Cobbold ran with a 40lb pack
From left are Bryn Monk, Amelia McHugh, Simon Probert and Nigel Griffiths

This year 952 people entered the race, compared with 1,145 in 2019, and each of them had their own stories of personal achievement.

Among them was William Worthing, aged 52, from Gobowen. He ran the course in 1 hour and 10 minutes dressed as a Minion from the Despicable Me franchise.

"I only started running again four weeks ago," said William, who is often seen collecting for charities.

"It isn't heavy, but it's awkward to run in. You can't move your arms so I was sweating all the way round, and I couldn't breathe in it so I had to cut out a piece of the front"

But William is no stranger to running. In 2016 he ran from London to Shropshire and in 2018 he ran 18 times up the Wrekin.

Luke Butler, aged 36, from Shrewsbury Athletic Club only got back into training after injury 11 weeks ago and managed to lose two and a half stone in that time. He finished third in 35:24.

Also there to give the runners a big Oswestry welcome across the finish line was town crier Phil Brown, who took up the role in 2018 and loves it.

He read his proclamation before the start of the race, imploring runners to "don't start till you hear the bell."

Also taking part, wearing his chain of office, was the town's mayor, Councillor Mark Jones, who as well as raising money for his mayoral charities, wanted to highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

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