Olympic runner wins half marathon

Race winner Marius Ionescu
Race winner Marius Ionescu

An international athlete, who ran at last year’s Olympics, blew away the field at the 2013 Bridlington Half Marathon.

Marius Ionescu, who was running for Altrincham and District AC on Sunday, was almost four-and-a-half minutes ahead of his nearest challenger, as he crossed the line in 1:10:01.

However, last summer he had been representing Romania at London 2012, finishing 26th in the marathon, 30 seconds faster than the best Briton.

Earlier this year, Ionescu also finished 26th in the marathon at the World Championships in Moscow, and he was 13th in the same event two years earlier in Daegu in South Korea.

Given his international pedigree, which has also seen the 28-year-old compete in the European Junior Championships and European Indoor Championships, it was no surprise he left the 600-plus other runners trailing.

His time on the Yorkshire Coast was more than five minutes off his personal best for the half marathon, but he was too good for his nearest rivals.

Doncaster AC’S Carl Ryde, winner of the race in 2011, took second spot in 1:14:26 with Bridlington Road Runners’ Phill Taylor 45 seconds back in third.

Taylor said: “Looking at the start list, including an Olympian, third was probably the best I could have hoped for.

“The race went well but wasn’t quite as fast as I would have liked if I’m honest.

“The conditions were OK but not ideal as it was very windy coming back from Bempton and Bempton Lane, although downhill, was very tough, running into a strong headwind. The last mile was horrible.

“All the marshalls did a great job as always and it was an added bonus to have such a strong field - including an Olympic athlete.”

Also in the first 10 to finish was new Bridlington RR member Simon Dean, who took ninth place in 1:19:56.

The third counter in the Bridlington team was Nick Hellewell, who was 17th in 1:22:13, which meant Bridlington were the second men’s team behind City of Hull AC.

The leading three Bridlington women to finish were Karon Colley (248th), Sarah Wood (260th) and Karyn Hoggard (262th).

Last year’s fastest woman, Helen Cross, of Pocklington Runners, retained her title, finishing in 1:23:08 in 21st place overall.

Before the half marathon, dozens of youngsters took part in the annual one-mile fun run along the seafront.

Scarborough AC junior Kyle Richardson took the tape in 6.13, followed by Matthew Cawkill in 6.20.

Third and fourth-placed runners Josh Wilkins and Ashley Porter also broke the seven-minute barrier.

Bridlington Road Runners thanked all the organisations which had made the event run smoothly, including the marshalls, staff at Leisure World, St John Ambulance, Bridlington Rotary Club and those who worked behind the scenes.