Saturday night had seen torrential downpours, leading to fears of a difficult task ahead for those lining up on Shrewsbury Half Marathon’s start line.
However, when yesterday arrived, the runners were met with sunshine and a clear crisp morning to set off on the picturesque route around the historic town.
The race village, set up at the start line at the Greenhous West Mid Showground, was alive with the hustle and bustle of runners and supporters ahead of the event, with a sea of coloured lycra punctuated by the brave competitors taking on the course in more challenging costumes such as a nun’s habit or ballet-style skirts.
While hundreds were taking part just for fun, or to support good causes, there were serious competitors at the head of the pack.
The men’s race was won by Tom Roberts of Meirionnydd Running Club in a time of one hour, nine minutes and 54 seconds, while the women’s contest saw Jackie Skinner of Fulham Running Club cross the line first in one hour, 29 minutes and 29 seconds.
The runners had been seen off on the route by Shrewbury’s Mayor, Councillor Phil Gillam, who said he had been delighted to see the rain relent for the day.
“It is great to see such a large number of people here. We have been incredibly lucky with the weather when you look at the forecast," he said.
Councillor Gillam added that he expected the event to raise a huge amount for worthy causes.
There were a number of unique stories as part of the half marathon with Alan Browne, a 72 year-old from Chesterfield, joined by his granddaughter Charlotte Harrison and daughter Kathryn to take on the course.
Accompanied by Kathryn’s two friends, Liz Frost and Gemma Chown, the group pushed Charlotte around the course in a buggy.
Charlotte, who has disabilities which mean she could not run the course, is not usually allowed to take part in half marathons due to being under 16, but the Shrewsbury event was one the group could enter.
Another runner was Dr Linga Dwarakanath, a 59-year-old Indian consultant who had previously worked at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Dr Dwarakanath moved back to India several years ago, where he is a member of Chennai Running Club, but comes back to the UK to visit his children, and had completed the Shrewsbury Half Marathon for the past five years. He even noted the connection between Shrewsbury and Chennai – with the statue of Clive of India in the town’s square, on the half-marathon route.
He said: “It is a wonderful course. All the history behind it. and the most interesting thing was The first year I came and I saw the statue of Clive of India in the square and we have the same statue in Madras, Chennai.”