Track star Wilsmore toughs it out with half marathon boys in Bristol

The start of the 2018 Simplyhealth Great Bristol half marathon with Mike Wilsmore and Harry Allen flanking eventual winner Matt Clowes (wearing cap)

WALES international Matt Clowes extended his excellent September from with a runaway victory in the Simplyhealth Great Bristol half marathon yesterday.

Running with all the confidence of a man who has clocked a personal best of 29mins 19secs to finish second in the Cardiff 10k at the start of the month followed by another swift 29:47 to win the Swansea 10k last week Clowes dominated the race to finish almost four minutes clear of former Bristol & West AC runner Tom Merson.

Merson, who now runs in the colours of Exmouth Harriers after along period out of action with a big toe injury, couldn’t live with the Welshman but was satisfied with a repeat of his second place he achieved in 2016.

Top local runner was Bristol & West’s Harry Allen in fifth, smashing his time of 73:27 on his debut in bath last year with a sparkling 70mins 03secs.

Arguably even more impressive was the performance of clubmate Mike Wilsmore, who finished two places behind in 70:17. Middle distance expert Wilsmore has just come off a track season in which he ran PBs over 800m and 1500m so the half marathon is a huge challenge for him, though one he has completed twice before in Torbay last year (87:40) and Plymouth in 2016 (78:03).

No wonder then that Wilsmore (pictured right) was delighted with his PB, which shows he possess a lot of strength and stamina as well as sheer speed.

“Got taught how it was done by the big boys today!” said Wilsmore.

“But still a huge PB of 70mins 17secs for 7th at the Bristol half marathon, not bad for a 1500m runner! Now back to winter work!

In addition there were PBs for the Westbury Harriers’ pair of Oli Beale, who also finished third veteran over 40 and Alex Hamblin, Bristol & West’s Simeon Howson plus Luke Hanson of Southville Running Club.

Clara Evans completed a Cardiff double by winning the women’s race from Torbay’s Charlie Arnell with Bristol & West AC veteran Annabel Granger the leading local runner as she finished just ahead of Southville RC’s Jane Faram, who smashed her personal best by over a minute.

Westbury’s Katie Hughes also made the top ten in ninth with 83mins 53secs, also celebrating a superb PB shaving three seconds off her previous best mark of 83:56 which she set five years ago in Cardiff.

Simplyhealth Great Bristol half marathon – men: 1 Matt Clowes (Cardiff) 65:10; 2 Tom Merson (Exm) 69:34; 3 Matthew Rees (Swansea) 69:51.

WEST: 5 Harry Allen (B&W) 70:03 (PB); 7 Mike Wilsmore (B&W) 70:17 (PB); 9 Mike Towler (AVR) 70:28 (PB); 14 Adam Stokes (Taunton) 71:35; 18 Steve Gallienne (Bide) 73:25; 21 Oli Beale (WH, M40 3rd) 74:22 (PB); 25 Simeon Howson (B&W) 74:41 (PB); 27 Kieron Summers (Weston, M40) 75:00; 34 Robert Farley (Bitton) 76:01; 38 Luke Hanson (Southville RC) 76:31 (PB); 40 Edward Baldry (SRC) 76:44; 41 Alex Hamblin (WH) 76:44 (PB): 45 James Atkinson (TB) 76:37; 48 James Shorney (WH) 77:21.

 Women: 1 Clara Evans (Cardiff) 76:26; 2 Charlie Arnell (Torbay) 77:28 (PB); 3 Marta Bagnati (Serpentine) 78:38

WEST: 7 Annabel Granger (B&W, W45) 83:19; 8 Jane Faram (SRC) 83:45; 9 Katie Hughes (WH, W40) 83:53; 12 Emma D’Alton (WH, W40) 85:16; 13 Rosie Hattersley (B&W) 85:52 (PB);