THREE-time Belvoir Half Marathon winner and reigning champion Chris Southam had to settle for second on Sunday as the title went north of the border.
The race, which starts and finishes at Hose Village Hall, celebrated its 30th birthday and appeared in rude health as 473 runners completed its runner-friendly flat course around the Vale.
The race is traditionally held two weeks before the London Marathon and has become popular with the running community as a good warm-up for the big event. Among the field this year were 270 entrants from Leicestershire, including 41 from Melton, and 170 from Nottinghamshire.
Edinburgh AC runner Neil Renault was the first man home in a superb time of 1hr 12min 59secs, leading home the Stilton Strider by almost a minute. Ashley Miles (Sphinx AC) completed the podium positions in 1.15.15.
Southam’s time of 1.13.53 was good enough to win him the vet 40+ category as he sets his sights on a fifth top 100 finish at the London Marathon.
The first woman home was Liz Cocks (Birstall RR) in a time of 1.18.42, while first woman over 40 was Kate Wright (Stratford AC) in 1.24.59.
Howard Andersen (Coventry Godiva Harriers) and Yvonne Parker (Road Runners) won the men’s and women’s vet 50 age groups in 1.20.46 and 1.38.28 respectively, while the vet 60 prizes went to Bernard Jarvis (Holme Pierrepont RC) and Julie Braker in 1.37.09 and 1.53.17.
Nottingham dominated the team events with Redhill Road Runners Club taking victory for the men, and Holme Pierrepont Running Club landing the women’s team prize.
Stilton Striders had another two finishers within the top 85 with Richard Gray 77th home in 1.31.08 and Ian Williamson just six places and 48 seconds back. Kirsty Ainscough came within 16 seconds of cracking the 1hr 40min mark to finish 174th, while Mike Brighty crossed the line 210th in 1.44.01, and Julie Duley finished in 2.20.19.
Wreake Runner Jimmy Noone finished 54th in 1.28.02 followed by clubmates Vicki Lowe in 205th (1.43.38), Wayne Morris (1.53.03) and Simon Hargrave (2.27.56).
Three of Melton’s new running club, the Pork Pie Plodders, took part and were supported by fellow Plodder Teresa Wrzyszcz.
Zenon Kurys was first home in 1.38.38, followed by Emma Machowska with her second PB of the year in 1.55.07, while Philippa Kurys, in only her second half marathon, smashed her previous best by 15 minutes to come home in 2.20.03.
Another 58 runners tackled the four-and-a-half-mile fun run which was won by Carl Voisey from runner-up and under 16s winner Jake Hornsby. Jasmin Southam, daughter of Chris, was third and the under 12s winner was Sonny Smereka.
The event was organised by Hose Village Hall Management Committee to raise funds for village hall improvements with emergency support provided by Belvoir First Aid and 40 villagers acting as on-route marshals on the route, car park supervisors and water point attendants. Hose School Parents and Friends provided refreshments at the village hall.
* For full results, visit the Hose village website www.hosevillage.org.uk/bhm.htm