Runners out in force as Series kicks off
A record-breaking DRE & Co Sexarathon Race Series gets under way this week with the The Lilleshall 5 Mile Race.
For the first time in its 37-year history organisers have been forced to post the sold out signs after 500 runners pre-entered the event, writes Paul Sanderson.
The opening event takes place on Wednesday at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre with a 7pm start and due to the demand there will be no individual entries on the night.
Last year a record number of 403 finishers completed the ninth staging of the race.
The number of participants has grown year on year since its first staging in 2010 when 259 runners crossed the finish line.
The course follows the main drive at the Sports Centre before turning right on to Pitchcroft Lane, then left along Pave Lane before returning to the Sports Centre up the main drive.
Last year, Claire Martin, the course record holder and 12-time winner of the overall six-race Sexarathon Series, won the women’s race in 29 minutes 15 seconds, just a second slower than her winning time the previous year and 15th in the race overall.
Wolverhampton and Bilston’s Jess Humphreys, the Shropshire Schools’ Cross Country champion, ran a superb race to finish second in 32.55 – a time that puts her 14th on the all-time rankings.
Her team-mates, Hannah Pearson and Mollie Parr, were third and fourth respectively.
The quality of the women’s race was so high that the first 13 across ther finish line all clocked under 37 minutes.
Tipton Harriers ace Martin Williams won the men’s race in 26.23 – the seventh fastest time on the course.
His team-mate Ian Williams took second in 26.44 – which put him 10th on the all-time list – with Oswestry Olympians Oli Blake third in 26.52 the 14th fastest ever.
Again the strength of the men’s competition was evident as 19 runners ran faster than 30 minutes.