GALLERY: Runners out in force for Shrewsbury's Severn Bridges 10k

The return of a unique 10k race taking in almost all of central Shrewsbury's bridges saw more than 400 people criss-crossing the River Severn this morning.

500 tickets were sold for the Severn Bridges 10k
500 tickets were sold for the Severn Bridges 10k

The Severn Bridges 10k was held again today, with runners taking on the Welsh and English bridges, the Kingsland Bridge, Greyfriars Bridge and others as they ran 10 kilometres, beginning and ending in the Quarry park.

Last year's race was cancelled because the river itself rose too high, the first time in the race's history. It meant that spaces were at a premium this year because those who registered to run in 2018 were offered deferred spaces.

It was sorely missed and duly sold out, with all 500 slots accounted for by the time of today's race.

The run started and finished in the Quarry park, which sits between the river and Shrewsbury's town centre

The race is organised by Shropshire Council, and the Shropshire Shufflers provided an army of about 50 volunteers to marshal the runners through Shrewsbury.

The club's chair Nick Pollock said: "The Shufflers have been doing the marshalling for it for as long as the race has been going, I think.

"I personally have been organising the marshalling for about seven or eight years. It's quite a complex course so it needs about 50 marshals.

"I think the race is unique because it's an unusual route. It sets out to use nearly all the bridges in town, it's tht crossing back and forth on the river. That makes the course quite twisty.

"It's celebrating the river presence in the town."

Philip Boak, front right, started the race strong and went on to finish first with a personal best time of 33:14

Sean McCarthy, Shropshire Council's project officer for leisure services, was busy on the day in his usual role as race director.

Reflecting on last year's cancellation, he said: "The river was in floods so we had to cancel last year unfortunately. There's nothing you can do really, it's just one of those things you come up against when you've got a race by the river.

The Shropshire Shufflers, some of whom ran the race and many of whom marshalled

"It's never been cancelled before, one of those freak weather occurrences that we have every now and again.

"This year sold out, pretty much every year we sell out. It's limited to 500 just because of the quirkiness of the course really, and how tight some of the parts of the course are.

"We could probably fill it twice over, but it probably wouldn't be particularly safe.

The race's unique route included several sharp turns

"It's probably not like a normal 10k. It follows the river predominantly, it takes in some of Shrewsbury's other landmarks that people wouldn't see if they were walking through the town centre.

"A special thank you to the Shropshire Shufflers for providing the marshals as they do every year. Without the Shufflers we wouldn't be able to put this race on because we just don't have the staff to provide the 40 to 50 marshals.

"Also thank you to the rest of the leisure services staff and other staff from Shropshire Council and previous staff for coming and helping. It's a real team effort."

Members of the Dolly Mixtures running group for women

Philip Boak, 32, came first in the race, finishing in 33:14. It was a personal best, his fastest-ever 10k run.

The Royal Navy man has lived in Shrewsbury since 1999 and has run the Severn Bridges 10k about four times overall.

He said: "I really like it. Doing it today, it's a nightmare of a course, but really, really well-marshalled. A few hills, a few 90 degree turns but I can't fault the organisers.

"I've got my fiancée Kate and my dad Richard supporting so that's nice for them to see it.

"Well done to everyone else for getting out and about. I think it's a fantastic race and provided that the river doesn't rise up, I think it always goes really well."

Phil Jones and Nick Bradley were the second and third finishers.

The first three women were Jemma Brown, Emily Sanders and Naomi Cook who all finished within 40 second of each other.

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