Buxhall sees big field at Robert Tomlinson Half Marathon near Stowmarket before running shuts down amid raised fears over coronavirus
Despite the heightening fears of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 300 runners took part in the Robert Tomlinson Half Marathon in Stowmarket on Sunday – with the female course record being smashed.
In total 331 runners took on a blustery course from Buxhall on the event previously known as the Stowmarket Half Marathon but now named after deceased club member and sponsor Robert Tomlinson.
Having sought advice on the coronavirus outbreak from England Athletics, organisers put additional hygiene precautions in place with hand sanitisers put out at the race HQ and marshals at water stops in latex gloves.
There was a very high calibre field with Danny Rock, of Felixstowe RRC winning the race overall in a time of one hour, 11 minutes and four seconds (chip time).
He proved to be well in front of his nearest competitor with Matthew Spencer of Framlingham Flyers coming in second in 1:13:11.
Helen Davies was the first female and third overall.
The former elite international race runner, who represents Ipswich Jaffa, smashed the female course record formerly held by St Edmund Pacers’ Odette Robson (1:20:54) since 2015 by more than five minutes. Davies (nee Decker), who represented Great Britain at the European Championships in Barcelona in 2010 and England at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi the same year, stopped the clock in 1:15:31 to win her female and female V40 categories.
The host club had plenty to celebrate themselves though with fourth place for Stowmarket Striders’ Chris Hall (third male) in 1:16:42.
The first St Edmund Pacers’ member to finish was Andrew Southwood, who won his Male V40 category, coming sixth overall in a time of 1:18:21.
Luke Senior was next in for the Bury club in 13th overall (1:22:03) while Chris Mower was right behind him (1:22:44).
West Suffolk Athletic Club’s Ben Jeffrey came in 20th overall in 1:25:48 while the Pacers’ first female back was Katie King in 1:33:30 for 53rd overall.
A club spokeswoman said: “After all the uncertainty pre-race a fantastic race was enjoyed by all.
“Sadly this race might be one of the last for a period of time but The Robert Tomlinson Half Marathon will be back the same time next year.”
* England Athletics released an updated statement in relation to Covid-19 on Wednesday afternoon which said that clubs should suspend all activity, including club training sessions, until “at least the end of April”.
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