On Sunday 14th August 5 athletes made the short trip up the A1 to run the Newark Half Marathon.
The largely flat route started and finished at sconce park known for its famous links to the civil war. For the more than 600 starters it was very much going to be a battle just to keep cool with the sun beating down and there being very little shade for large parts of it. Thankfully the organisers added additional water stations and these proved invaluable at keeping cool with generous amounts of the water being liberally doused over heads. Given how warm conditions had affected at least one of the GRC entrants in 2019 this was to be a massive help.
Matt Williamson, Robin Atter and Chris Limmer all started close together on Hawton road and largely stuck within a minute or so of each other in the first couple of miles. As the three got onto some of the more exposed sections Matt pulled ahead and the others settled in for the long drag out towards Elston.
Just before the half way point the runners went passed the Eden Hall spa and there was no relaxing for the runners as temperatures continued to climb higher into the high 20s. The 5 GRC runners paces slowed on the return to sconce park but they all managed to summon some real strength of character to get themselves to the finish.
Matt was able to gradually extend his advantage of Chris and finished with a fine 1:32:18 . Particularly impressive given it was his first half marathon in 9 months. Chris was little over a minute back in 1:33:36 and wasn’t too unhappy given his current level of running fitness.
Next in was Robin who finished in 1:44:18 and he was followed by Nicola Ruston-Litchfield (1:54:48) and her husband Richard (2:08:07). Nicola and Richard started together near the 2hr pacer and then ran their own races as conditions began to take their toll somewhat on Richard. For Nicola it was a relief to finish feeling strong given when she ran Newark in 2019, she needed some medical assistance after crossing the line.
The runners were full of praise for the organisers for managing the challenging conditions and the front runners put on quite a show for the locals with the race attracted a quality field of elite runners thanks to the generous prize pot and cash for beating the course record. The men’s race was won in 1:08:12 by David Bishop and the of top two women both beat the old course record it was GB Olympian from the 2016 Olympics, Sonia Samuels, who ran 1:14:23 beating Emma Styles by just over a minute.