The start of the IW Half Marathon at Ryde.
HALF MARATHONIW RUNNERS surpassed themselves at this year’s IW Half Marathon, run in sweltering conditions which tested even the finest athletes.
The Ryde Harriers-run event attracted a huge field and, with 329 finishers, was one of the largest they had staged, despite the hot weather.
Together with the blazing sunshine, a very tough course greeted the runners, who had travelled from around the country and the world — including Italy, Amsterdam, Krakow, and Stuttgart to name a few — to take part.
Winning the event was Portsmouth track specialist Harry Carter, who crossed the line in an incredible 1.16.03.
It was only his second half marathon, as he normally runs 5km and 10km track races.
“I’m going to Spain tomorrow on holiday so I thought I would really hurt myself before I left,” Harry joked. “It was a very hard course and I finished about seven minutes off my best. But given the course and the weather I’m happy.”
It was another four minutes before the next runner, from Tunbridge Wells, finished, while first Islander Ben Douglas was not far behind in third.
Former Carisbrooke High School student Ben, 22, who is studying physics at Durham University and therefore represented Durham, finished in 1.21.50.
“I normally do middle distance and cross-country so this was the first longer run I’ve done,” he said. “It was tough but I aimed for top three and I got it, so I am really pleased.”
The first woman was Italian athlete Lorenza Banchetti, from Athletica Ambrosiana, of Milan, in an impressive 1.34.52, with Wight Tri athlete Lucy Wells, of Ryde, the first IW woman to finish, in 1.49.14.
From an Island perspective it was a very strong day for clubs.
Hosts Ryde Harriers had the eighth and ninth-placed runners overall in Kristian Rowdon and Les Cupis, while their men’s team came second and their women’s team came third.
For the IW Road Runners the event doubled up as their club championships, and they had five men in the top 18.
Their best result was from Simon McMorran, who came fifth overall and won the vet50 prize, finishing in 1.24.23, while Simon Randall came tenth in 1.30.18. Dave Cass ran a vet PB of 1.31.54 for 13th place, and these three results earned them the men’s team prize.
They also came third in the team event, with Eric Smith (1.33.12), Stuart Backhouse (1.33.53) and Phil Mannall (1.42.48) doing well.
The club’s women did not disappoint either, winning their team event. Heather Drudge (1st vet45) was 78th overall in a time of 1.49.52, with Natalie Lazenby not far behind in an excellent 1.50.44. Completing the winning team was Carla Paonessa, who finished in 1.59.59.
Certainly a candidate for the award for endeavour went to Mike Berry, who completed the club’s day by finishing in 246th place, with his time of 2.17.31 very impressive considering he arrived straight from finishing a night shift.
West Wight Road Runners also had strong representation, with Andrew McEwan coming 22nd overall in 1.35.57, Paul Judge coming 44th in 1.44.55 and Daniel Williams coming 122nd in 1.55.53. Chris Amy was the club’s top woman, finishing in 2.15.48.
Joining Lucy from Wight Tri was Neil McCall (1.41.58) and Sarah Forster (2.10.04).
Full results are available from www.rydeharriers.co.uk