The inaugural Oswestry Half Marathon took place on Sunday 30th April 2017 and proved to be a day of fantastic sporting achievement and outstanding community support at a highly original race venue.
Shropshire’s newest running event was organised by UKRunChat Events and had sold out more than a month before race day, with runners from near and far keen to experience a race location like no other. With the race host venue being the British Ironwork Centre Sculpture Park, the day began with runners warming up next to magnificent life-size animal sculptures as crowds gathered to enjoy the buzzing race atmosphere and the many activities on offer at the Bank Holiday weekend Family Fun Day.
Runners were sent on their way in style with Oswestry Deputy Mayor Councillor Vince Hunt firing the cannon at 9.30am and Shropshire brass band Porthywaen Silver Band performing at the start of the race and in the race village.
After warming up amongst life-like wildebeest, cheetahs, elephants and gorillas, runners completed the first kilometer within the grounds of the British Ironwork Centre Sculpture Park before heading out on closed country roads around Oswestry.
Giant gorillas were located along the route as magnificent mile-markers, and as a taster of the bespoke hand-sculpted gorilla medal for all those who crossed the finish line.
Designed by British sculptor Joe Bailey, one of the country’s leading sculptors, the eye-catching medals were sprayed in gold and based on the amazing Uri Geller spoon gorilla, which the British Ironwork Centre is home to. The medals made a fitting and unique reward for a race that has certainly made its mark on the UK running calendar and which is already looking forward to bigger and better things in 2018.
With a special Spoon Gorilla medal on a gold chain waiting to be awarded to the overall 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed male and female, the fight was certainly on at the front of the field for the top positions. David Webb (right) from Telford City AC ran a confident race to win the men’s title in a time of 1:10:17, over nine minutes ahead of the competition, leaving Benjamin Jones from Steel City Striders to take second place just ahead of Scott Minshall, and a large group of runners just seconds apart to cross the line shortly after.
It was another exciting finish in the women’s race, with Belle Ward claiming the women’s title in a time of 1:28:02, followed by Nicola Davies of Maldwyn Harriers in 1:28:46 and Abigail Glover-Davies just under two minutes later in third place.
Results (provisional): Oswestry Half Marathon, 30th April 2017
- David Webb (Telford City AC), 1:10:17
- Benjamin Jones (Steel City Striders), 1:19:23
- Scott Minshall, 1:19:38
- Belle Ward, 1:28:02 (pictured right)
- Nicola Davies (Maldwyn Harriers), 1:28:46
- Abigail Glover-Davies, 1:30:36
The full results are available on the website.
A special gorilla medal on a gold chain was also awarded to the first placed male and female in the following age categories: 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65+.
Race Organiser and Director of UKRunChat Joe Williams commented, “We were absolutely delighted with the very first Oswestry Half Marathon which was a great success on all accounts – from selling out weeks before race day to a fantastic turnout of runners and spectators on the day and to a brilliant gorilla theme running throughout. So many people commented on the stunning course, the superb atmosphere and the unique medal which will stand out in any collection! I would like to thank everyone for all the support in our first year at Oswestry, including the British Ironwork Centre for allowing to host the race at such at iconic venue, and we are already looking forward to delivering another first-class day of sport and entertainment next year.”
Clive Knowles of the British Ironwork Centre added, “It was wonderful to host the inaugural Oswestry Half Marathon and see so many people enjoy a day of magnificent sporting achievement combined with all that the British Ironwork Centre has to offer. Many runners were raising money for charity and I was humbled and inspired to see their efforts alongside the incredible support from spectators. The spoon gorilla theme was a huge hit and we are already looking at basing next year’s medals on the Knife Angel, another unique sculpture located at the Centre, to ensure that the Oswestry Half Marathon continues to be the most interesting and must-do race of the spring.”
The 13.1-mile Oswestry Half Marathon took runners through the British Ironwork Centre Sculpture Park before heading out on closed country roads and through the friendly border town of Oswestry. The course comprises a hill challenge half-way through the race followed by a gradual decline all the way back to the finish line, making for a fast second half and a great chance to run a PB.
The race also marked the beginning of a festival of Bank Holiday activities for the whole family. With food stalls, activities for children, free parking and an on-site café, it ensured a fantastic turnout of hundreds of athletes and supporters to its spring debut.
Free event photography for all competitors was provided by Pic2Go, which allows instant social media sharing and identification of event photos so competitors can immediately share their experiences with friends and family.
The next event organised by UKRunChat is the Shrewsbury Half Marathon on 18th June 2017. The Shrewsbury Half provides a great mix of historic town and stunning green countryside, and entries cost £25.50 for affiliated athletes and £27.50 for non-affiliated athletes. Team entry for four runners costs £102. Go to https://www.ukrunchat.co.uk/shrewsbury-half-marathon/ to sign up now.
Visit http://www.ukrunchat.co.uk/oswestry-half-marathon/ for further details about the Oswestry Half Marathon, like UKRunChat on Facebook and follow @OswestryHalf #RunOswestry on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest news.
Photos courtesy of ©Sussex Sport Photography 2017.