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RUNNING: Exeter captain third in this morning's Great West Run
1:40pm Sunday 13th October 2013 in Sport
TOM Merson from Bristol and West AC raced home to victory at Exeter’s Great West Run 2013 this morning, with a time of 70m 2s, in good running conditions despite light showers overnight.
In second place came Kairn Stone from Newham and Essex Beagles 79m 20s followed by Ollie Garrod, Exeter University Athletics Captain, from Epsom and Ewell Harriers in 72m 49s.
Merson and Stone have a renowned competitive history with the race, having now won five out of the last six races between them, with Shaun Antell beating them both to the line last year. Merson has been absent from the top spot since 2009, making it a welcome return for the Bristol and West AC runner.
Talking about the race, Merson said: “The new course proved to be really fast for the first three to four miles, which helped with the pacing. It was very scenic, and took in everything that Exeter has to offer. It was extremely well supported across the whole route, but particularly at the start and finish line which was moved to the high street this year, and made a huge difference.”
Stone added: “I loved the route, particularly the first eight miles. It was nice and flat, taking in some great sights such as the section by the river. It highlights everything great about the town, and we’ll definitely be back to compete again next year.”
Best women's performances were Lucy Macalister also from Bristol and West AC in one hour nineteen minutes and eight seconds, with Maddie Horton finishing in second in one hour twenty four minutes and twenty five seconds, and Rebecca Mayles in one hour twenty six minutes and twenty four seconds taking third.
2,178 runners completed the 13.1 mile race, which was taken over by GO2 this year. Residents came out in their thousands to cheer on the runners, who embraced the event wholeheartedly and contributed hugely to the fantastic atmosphere that the participants experienced throughout the route.
Organisers GO2 were delighted with the turnout and the inspirational crowd support shown by Exeter residents. Race organiser Amy Budd said: "Congratulations to each runner that participated in today’s race, and thank you to every spectator that took the time to come out and cheer our runners on. You made a huge difference to their race! The changes to the 2013 event have been welcomed by the running community with some extremely positive feedback, as well as the spectators who turned out in their thousands to show their support, particularly in the town centre.
“Everybody had their own special reason for running the race today, whether it was to get fit, reach a personal best, raise money for charity or in training for a marathon, everyone came together and ignited the town of Exeter this Sunday morning! We also need to make a special mention to all of our 150 volunteers who helped make the event a success. The race had an amazing atmosphere, and we can’t wait to return again next year.”
The course was also made up of hundreds of charity runners, including a family team made up of Daniel Case, Deborah Down and Jade Down who ran for Sophie Joy, aged three, and their ‘Stepping with Sophie Appeal’ to help Sophie with her battles against Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy.
Sharon Jeans also completed Exeter’s Great West Run to raise funds for The Stroke Association after suffering a stroke herself little over a year ago. With minimal running experience, she took on the personal challenge to help increase awareness for both sufferers, and also the general public on how to spot an attack.
In addition to the main race, over 250 school children ran a mile as part of the Schools' Challenge. This race was won by Josh Cann from Newton St Cyres, helping to raise money for Make a Wish. Cancer Research UK and Children’s Hospice South West, were the Official Charity Partners for this year’s Great West Run.
Commercial partners for the race were Landmark, Exeter Physio, Ironbridge Runner, Full Potential and USN. Media Partners for the event were the Express & Echo and Heart FM.
Pre-registration is now open for next year’s race at www.thegreatwestrun.co.uk. Runners can sign up to be first to hear when entries open.