Strong winds gusting up to 45mph battered the hundreds of runners who came to Hose for the 33rd Belvoir Half Marathon and Fun Run.
Just under 500 runners completed the 13.1-mile course which called at Harby, Langar, Colston Bassett and Long Clawson, all of whom welcomed a helpful tailwind which blew them to the finish line at Hose Village Hall.
Stuart Spencer (Notts AC) finished a full 80 seconds clear of Mark Powell to win in a terrific time of 1hr 10min 08secs, the fastest in more than a decade.
Matt Adcock completed the top three in 1.13.13, while 2009 and 2011 winner Chris Southam, from Long Clawson, crossed the line seventh in 1.15.52.
The women’s winner was Kate Wright (Stratford-upon-Avon AC) in a time of 1.25.37, finishing 26th overall and first woman also in the 50-59 age category.
Among the Stilton Striders, Darren Glover was 38th in 1.28.16 followed by Mike Bryan (1.31.02) in 58th.
Mick Atton produced a stunning personal best of 1.34.21 for 98th, while Dan Valencia also clocked a PB of 1.37.35 for 130th. He was closely followed by Luke Eggleston (1.38.17 – 137th), Ben Pickard (1.39.24 – 151st), John Houghton 1.41.56 PB – 172nd), Shane Sharkey (1.53.08 – 279th) and Shaun Staff 2.29.37).
A strong lady Strider contingent was led by Jenni Wisher in 1.45.49 (222nd) closely followed by Vicky Lowe who looked in great form for the upcoming London Marathon by posting 1.47.42 (234th).
She was closely followed by Louise Houghton (1.48.13 – 240th), Susan Pettingill (2.17.55 – 452nd) and Diane Atton (2.33.13 – 488th).
A trio of runners from fellow Melton club, the Pork Pie Plodders, was led by Emma Machowska in 1.58.15, followed by Jane Scatchard (2.20.31) and Glenn Main (2.28.03).
The event also attracted 60 fun-runners, an increase on previous turn-outs, who tackled a 4.5-mile circuit along the lanes between Hose and Long Clawson.
Jake Richardson (Nene Valley RC) won from runner-up Simon Inman and third-placed Jo Pettifor, who was also the first woman home.
Daniel Fennell won the under 16s prize and Reece Broad was first under 12s finisher.
About 20 children took part in a race around the village hall playing field, a distance of about half-a-mile.
Other half-marathon prizes:
Men – 40-49: Chris Nicoll (1.15.39); 50-59: Chris Southam (Leicester Coritanians - 1.15.52); over 60: Raymond Robinson (Beaumont RC – 1.27.17); team: Leicester Coritanians (Mark Powell, Matthew Pointon, Chris Southam, Dave Pearce).
Women – 40-49: Kate Rice (1.26.26); Over 60: Barbara Stevens (Redhill RR – 1.38.00); team: Barrow Runners (Natasha Cuthbert, Kath Spencer, Ann Hillier).