THE 23RD running of the Torbay Half Marathon was held on Sunday in near perfect conditions and, such is the popularity of the race, that a record 2,300 entries were received including that of Leamington C&AC’s Sue Harrison.
The race started on the seafront at Paignton, Devon, and followed the coast road for three miles to Torquay passing Torre Abbey and Torquay’s Princes Gardens. It then returned along the same route.
For the full distance athletes complete the route twice. Most seafront roads are flat but between the two resorts is a big headland which meant the runners had four very tough hills to negotiate. The race finished on the Paignton seafront next to the pier.
Harrison, who is supported by Mizuno, X-Socks and The Warwickshire Golf & Country Club, made the long journey and was rewarded with a good result.
Racing with the leading ladies for the first mile, covered in under six minutes, lack of speedwork in her recent training forced Sue to ease back on her pace.
Struggling to get into a rhythm, she found the next five miles tough and after the first circuit was back in 8th place in the ladies’ race.
Sue then got back into a stronger pace and was able to pull back three places in the second half of the race to finally cross the line in 5th place in 84.56. Visiting Kenyan athletes took the first men’s and ladies’ prizes. Sue was 44th overall of over 1,500 finishers.
Sue said: “I am happy with my performance. This was my first race of more than 10 miles since August 2013 and I was four seconds inside the time my coach had set me as a target.”
After the race Sue was able to catch up with fellow Ultra Distance runner Steve Way, who had finished 3rd in the men’s race.
In 2013 Sue and Steve topped the UK rankings for the 100km distance and both were ranked 4th for the year in the IAAF World rankings. Steve will be representing England at the Marathon in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.