Sometimes you need more than decent shoes, dogged determination and sufficient training to complete a marathon or half marathon in style. A guardian angel, equipped for every eventuality, is not usually listed as a pre-requisite for success but this level of support was appreciated by many runners at the Jewson Barnstaple Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday (24 September).
North Devon Road Runners were promoting this popular event for the fourth time and many of the social media posts praised the NDRR Running Angels (pictured) deployed by the hosts to raise flagging spirits when the going got tough in the rain. Despite the adverse weather conditions there were 562 finishers with 172 completing the marathon in 6:23:45.
This year's marathon champions were Sam Tabberner (Bristol & West, 2:42:32) and Mary Menon (W35 Ilfracombe, 2:50:55). Sandwiched between the men's and women's winners was M50 Gerry Hogg (Running Forever, 2:44:34) and three hours was also beaten by M40 Steve Willis (Taunton, 2:55:02) and 'Ding Dong' Murdoch (Ilfracombe, 2:59:04). Midpoint runner was Clare Kennard (4:07:36).
Half marathon winners were Bryn Phillips (Yeovil, 1:16:18) and W35 Kathryn Burgess (Cornwall, 1:28:59) and the top 16 finished inside 90 minutes as 390 finished in 3:50:06.
Among many personal touches provided by the genial hosts was a pre-race pasta party hosted by four-hour pacer, Bryan Abell, at The Boutport Cafe. As well as serving up his personal twist on the energy giving staple of Italian cuisine, Bryan is pretty good at pacing as he delivered with 3:59:07.
Jewson Marathon and Half Marathon has quickly become established as one of the south west's premier running events. Based at Rock Park, Barnstaple the route is almost entirely flat and there are bouncy castles, face-painting, children's entertainment, food and a bar at the finish.