Former Commonwealth Games marathon representative Shona Crombie-Hicks was the women's winner of Humph's Hilly Half Marathon at Bourton-on-the-Water on the hottest day of the year so far on Saturday evening (17 June). The heat and severe climbs on this beautiful Cotswolds course did not deter 142 runners, who were led by James Bolton.
Humph's Hilly Half was introduced in 2004 to replace the Bourton Classic 15-mile race, which had been run for over 20 years and was once enjoyed, or endured, by this reporter back in the day.
James Bolton (Woodstock Harriers, 140 in photo) was immediately to the fore from the start line at Bourton Rovers FC in Rissington Road. The M40 has a 1:09:40 PB and dominates the Oxfordshire road running scene, but this was his first win in the Bourton Half after finishing second and third for the previous two years. Such was the severity of the climbs, Bolton's 1:15:51 sufficed for victory by more than five minutes.
Podium places were claimed by Kieron Summers (M40 Weston AC, 1:20:56) and Richard Walsh (Black Pear Joggers, 1:24:56). On a day that favoured experience there were excellent masters performances from M50 David Cantwell (Woodstock, 1:26:11 for 4th) and M60 Garry Payne (Nuneaton Harriers, 1:29:39 for 9th).
Shona Crombie-Hicks (Cheltenham Harriers) represented Scotland in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Marathon (16th, 2:51:41) while a member of the host club and recorded her sixth victory in the Bourton Half (1:30:49), now competing as a W45 master.
Donna Allen (Hook Norton Harriers, 1:36:21) and W40 Kate Krzywiec (1:37:57) were the closest opposition and other age group winners to impress were W35 Sarah Sheppard (Cheltenham Harriers, 1:40:24) and W55 Kate Sackett (Cirencester, 1:52:21).
The race followed a single loop through pretty villages of Clapton, Sherborne, Windrush, Great Barrington and Great Rissington and was part of the Gloucestershire County road race series. Proceeds went towards Katharine House Hospice and Almost Athletes were team winners.
Image courtesy Bourton Road Runners