BLUES skies and cheering crowds greeted the finishers of the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon as an international field revelled in the near perfect running conditions in Oman’s capital city.
The eighth edition of the increasingly popular event got under way soon after dawn, with the early morning light showing the way for thousands of athletes taking part in the full marathon, half-marathon, marathon relay and 10k races.
The race was started by women’s world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe – an ambassador for the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon – and the field took advantage of a windless day and a temperature of 20 degrees.
One of those competing was Stratford Athletic Club member Pete Evans who started slowly but even that proved challenging and his pace soon dropped as he ran along the coast.
A friend he was staying with was able to run with him from 24 to 30k, which helped him pick up the pace a bit but once he got to 33k he had to switch to a run/walk strategy, although he managed to run the last mile with the company of his friend again.
His chip time was 3:51:23, finishing 49th out of 318 starters and he also managed third place in his age category.
Evans’ 2019 plans include running the New York Half Marathon with his eldest son and then the Berlin Marathon in September.
The race was won by Ronald Korir in a time of 2:13:36.
THE 2019 track season started early for two members of Stratford Athletic Club in the shape of the Welsh Open Indoor Championships.
International runner Phil Brennan thought it was maybe a little too early for him. Various Welsh Masters events were combined in one of Cardiff Met University’s well-attended indoor athletics meetings and Brennan is anxious to get in as many indoor races as he can before going to the World Masters Championships in Poland in March.
Running as a guest, he won gold for first in age category in both 800m and 1,500m, with times of 3:06.59 and 6:23.34 respectively. In both races his margin of victory was impressive, winning by just over 50 seconds in the 1,500m and 28 seconds in the 800m.
Andy List was having his first experience of the indoor arena and he was sufficiently undaunted to finish second in his age category in the 60m with a time of 8.73. However, he felt a warning muscle stiffness and decided not to contest the 200m.
THE COURSE for the Gloucester Half Marathon is mainly traffic-free, allowing runners to run through the wonderfully scenic parish of Haresfield, as well as the village of Colethrop.
Two SAC members were among the 722 who finished the race, including James Cusack who recorded a time of 1:30:47, finishing in 79th place and 13th in his age group.
Cusack, who is building towards the London Marathon in April, was pleased with his performance, although he is looking to improve on this time before the big day in the capital.
Improving Cadie Hibberd completed the race in 1:36:52, finishing in 141st place and 16th in her age category.
Her time was a five-minute improvement on her previous personal best for this distance, achieved at Cardiff in October last year.
The race winner was Phil Burden in a time of 1:12:28 and the first woman to finish was Kirsteen Welch, finishing in 31st place overall with a time of 1:24:18.