Greenleaf takes Gosport Half Marathon glory

Andrew Greenleaf, winner of the 2011 Gosport Half Marathon. Picture: Martin Lewis (www.martinlewis.biz)
Andrew Greenleaf, winner of the 2011 Gosport Half Marathon. Picture: Martin Lewis (www.martinlewis.biz)
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Tom Payn saw his Gosport Half Marathon crown passed to team-mate Andrew Greenleaf in another roaring success of a race.

Winchester & District runner Greenleaf cruised to a comfortable win as nearly 1,400 runners battled it out on Sunday.

Southampton’s Matthew Bennett finished runner-up to Greenleaf’s winning time of 1hr 07min 51sec, as he came home in 1.09.45.

Perennial local race contender James Baker was third, with the Chichester Runners man clocking 1.10.14, while last year’s champion Payn hit a time 1.11.11.

Another familiar face – Denmead Striders’ Julian Manning – finished inside the top 10 after he crossed the line in eighth in 1.11.56.

The women’s race proved intriguing as two veteran entries dominated.

The 2011 title went to Reading’s Liz Hartney as the 45-49 age-group entry triumphed in 1.20.33.

Arena 80’s Louise Vallier was also in the 45-49 category and came home second with a time of 1.22.22.

Organisers were again pleased with how smoothly the event passed off as the race cemented its respected position on the athletics calendar.

Race director Dave Little was pleased with the turnout and inundated with positive feedback from entries.

He said: ‘It was a very good race, with good weather and an excellent turnout.

‘There were some strong performances and we were supported well.

‘We’ve been given some really positive comments and people seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.

‘Tom Payn won last year, but finished fourth this time.

‘Andrew Greenleaf was well clear of the rest of the field as winner.

‘It was interesting to see two veterans at the front of the ladies’ race and their times were a credit to them.’

There was a novel twist to the beginning of this year’s race as it was started by Gosport Mayor Chris Carter – who then went on to complete the 13-mile circuit.

The Gosport Road Runners-organised event also saw a fun run staged, with 160 children taking part.

Little praised the support the race was given, and explained they will now continue to strive to improve.

He said: ‘We had good support and, as usual, had a lot of helpers who were very vocal.

‘We have to thank them and friends and family of those involved with Gosport Road Runners, as well as Gosport Borough Council.

‘We are always looking to improve. The race was officially scrutinised by UK Athletics. And the initial response from them was very positive.’