Six-time world champion and double Olympic champion rower, James Cracknell OBE, got cracking in Exeter's Great West Run along with 3,000 other runners on Sunday (15 October).
Since retiring from rowing after the Athens Olmypics in 2004, Cracknell has turned his attention to sports promotion and his own running has improved this year to personal bests of 37:06 for 10k; 1:19:34 for half marathon and 2:43:12 in Virgin Money London Marathon. He was 48th last year (1:25:23) wearing race number 1 and this year took race number 4,000 to the same position in 1:23:17.
Great West Run takes an exciting 13.1 miles route through the heart of the city, followed by pretty country lanes with stunning views across Exeter before a fantastic finish at Exeter Arena Athletics Stadium. Conditions were perfect for racing with dry, overcast skies and hardly any wind. The mile long hill through Exeter University grounds at ten miles is still included in the revised course so this is still a challenging but rewarding route.
Talking of rewards we should mention the prize winners and the first of those was Exmouth Harriers' Tom Merson (1:09:39), who powered clear of Simon Nott (Calne RC, 1:10:58) and Tony Brewer (Mile High RC, 1:11:13). Top masters included M50 Keith Paul (Taunton RC, 1:21:17).
Annabel Granger (W40 Bristol and West, 1:23:13) took on bib number one this year and fittingly won the women's race from W40 Alison Thorn (Erme Valley Harriers, 1:24:54) and first senior Rebecca Ezra (Tamar Trotters, 1:25:51). The best higher age-group results were achieved by W50 Jeanette Johnson (Launceston RR, 1:30:37) and W60 Jane Bremner (Tamar Trotters, 1:39:54).
There were 2,903 finishers inside 3 hours 30 minutes and organiser James Cracknell said on Twitter: “Finished #GreatWestRun
funnily enough not first but not bad 1.23 so can't complain. Proud to be part of it, congrats to all involved and thanks.
The date for 2018 has been announced as Sunday, 14 October and early bird entries are available now along with full results through runABC South race listings
Image courtesy James Cracknell twitter