MORE than 300 runners completed the Lethbridge 10k on Wednesday evening .

In what was the 13th year of race director’s Roger Bryan’s stewardship, 332 runners finished with a hard fought battle for first place.

Lee Piercy, of Cirencester’s Performance Cycles team, battled with Swindon Harrier Gary O’Brien for much of the 10 kilometre distance, but edged away to win with 10 seconds to spare in 34 minutes, 33 seconds.

Stroud And District’s Craig Gardner rounded out the top three.

And special mention must go to Tim Hughes, of Wantage’s White Horse Harriers, who finished fourth, but first in the Vet 60 category.

On the women’s side, Stephanie Knott, of Swindon Striders, came home first in 40 minutes and 35 seconds.

Dominique Oughton was a clear second, just outside 42 minutes, and Caroline McBeth, also of Swindon Striders, was third, in 45 minutes, 32 seconds.

The runners rolled out of Croft Sports Centre into Marlborough Lane and on to Marlborough Road before taking the descent down the Old Town railway path.

Once they reached West Swindon, a loop near the Mannington retail park and Wichelstowe took them back to the railway track, and into Old Town.

Some doubt had been cast on the future of the race with Roger asking for more helpers to come forward.

“When I took over as race director from Andrew Kline in 2001 there were about 100 runners, and now we’re selling out with 400 entries,” said Roger, 51, a teacher, of Mill Lane, Old Town.

“Running has been on a boom for the past few years. There are so many more women running now. I think at the last race around 40 per cent of entries were women, which is a big change from a year ago.

“People come through the school as their kids get older. Our people are always looking to recruit people from lower down the school so they can do their bit.

“We want them to come in while their children are starting out, allow them a couple of years to get to know the event and then take a more senior role.

“I ought to pass the baton on. It’s good at the moment, but we are conscious that the trouble is getting parents in for two or three years before their children leave Lethbridge.

“When I started helping I was running in it, but when Andrew passed it on, I couldn’t continuing running in it. I would like to pass it on and start running it again.”