Sunday`s fourth running of Stockport`s showpiece event, the Stockport Hatters Half Marathon, was another resounding success.
The weather was kind to the organisers, Stockport County Supporters Cooperative, which was good with well over 400 signed up to run.
On the day 332 turned out and the overwhelming feed back indicated that the fabulous road/ trail race has lost none of its sparkle and appeal- a massive feather in the cap of live wire Race John Giles.
At the sharp end, of both men`s and women`s races, terrific struggles unfolded with Salford Harrier Glyn Billington eventually winning the men`s event in a creditable time of 1.18.11. Billington led pretty much from gun to tape, but never had a massive gap over second placed unattached runner Anthony Taylor who pressed him hard all the way round the course ,clocking 1.18.39 in second place. Unattached runner Matthew Devlin was third in 1.20.10 ahead another unattached athlete of Ian Itchworthy in fourth.
If the men’s race was a hard fought affair, the women`s equivalent was no less so with a mere 19 seconds separating winner and second placed athletes, Sarah Black-Smith of Thunder Runners taking the honours stopping the clock in a tasty 1.32.12, ahead of Catriona Walsh who was timed in at 1.32.31. Stockport Harrier Samantha Thomas expressed herself as delighted having clocked 1.35.06 to take third spot. Joanne Street of Sale came fourth.
The veterans prizes were decided as follows:-
MV40- Mark Collier 1.21.03( Mark was 5th overall- a fine achievement)
MV45- James McDonald 1.26.29 ( 12th overall)
MV50- Andy Porter 1.22.36 ( 7th overall)
MV55- Martyn Lundy- 1.41.52
MV60- Duncan Shuttleworth – 1.41.52
MV65- David Hewitt – 2.13.00
FV40 -Michelle Carter- 1.48.10
FV45- Tracey Blanchard- 1.57.32
FV50-Margaret Hammersley- 1.57.56
FV55- Sheila Paice- 1.59.51
FV60- Kathrinne Kingsley- 2.11.34
Long after all the above finished, Matthew White was still toiling in last position in the race, and to make matters worse, the sun was now beating down relentlessly in a previously overcast sky .
Matthew was aiming to raise £1000 for the Cooperative`s Guardian Account by running the race which would be his first race at any distance!
This was a massive challenge for Matty , who at 50 was not in peak condition , but he was determined to give it a go, and as he struggled some way behind the rest of the field his steely determination shone through like a wondrous beacon!
Matty was always in 331st position all the way round, but he knew that would be the case , and he deserves great credit for a brilliant effort that saw him home in 3.14.01
Oh…and last I knew Matty had raised over £1100 – another brilliant effort!
Official Race Video:
Hatters Half Photos (Dropbox): https://www.dropbox.