Runners brave a Southsea soaking

Runners brave the rain at the Coastal Half Marathon
Runners brave the rain at the Coastal Half Marathon
Victoria Ayriss on her way to winning the series. Picture: Ian Burnett Photography

Dramatic finish to Portsmouth Duathlon Series

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Runners braved a battering at the Coastal Half Marathon.

But that didn’t stop the fast-growing event proving to be a successful affair amid the wind and rain.

A hardy 776 athletes braved the rough conditions along Southsea seafront in the Royal Navy Lifeboat Institution fundraiser.

Entrants for the race, which started and finished at the Pyramids, came from all over the country to battle it out, with Chichester’s Daniel Bailey emerging victorious.

He was clear of Leigh-on-Sea’s James Atkinson in a time of 1 hr 18 mins 16 secs, with Atkinson coming home in 1.19.02.

Southsea’s Stephan Gehne was third (1.22.09), with Portsmouth’s George Little coming home fourth in 1.22.28.

It was a dog’s life for the winner of the women’s race, Sandra Bowers.

Bowers ran the race along with her training partner – a husky!

The Salisbury athlete, who specialises in ultra marathons, regularly trains with her dogs.

And that was the case around the Southsea course as she came home in a time of 1.27.38.

That was clear of Alresford’s Mairead O’Rourke (1.31.45), Southsea’s Emma Jolley (1.32.41) and Cosham’s Nicola Wright (1.34.07).

Race organiser Rob Piggott was pleased with how the event passed off in tough conditions.

He said: ‘The weather definitely made for an interesting race.

‘There were a lot of twists and turns, and the last mile along the seafront from the fair to Southsea Castle was really tough.

‘The weather affected the turnout but we still had 773 finishers, which was pleasing.

‘People came from all over the country to take part and it was different to see the women’s winner running with a husky!

‘The men’s winner was well clear of the field and was the guy who came second in the marathon in December.

‘The coastguards did a fly past at the start, which was appreciated.

‘A few people took the wrong line at Langstone and got their shoes stuck. But overall it was a good race and we had excellent feedback.’

The race organisers are now looking to see the Coastal Half Marathon cement its place on the race calendar.

And they are also looking for development in the other races which take place in the series to raise funds for the RNLI.

Piggott said: ‘We want to maintain things and keep it ticking over. We have to thank all the volunteers who made the race possible.’