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SWINDON HALF MARATHON: Montague is the comeback king
Miserable weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of Swindon athletics clubs as their athletes shone brightest in a field of more than 1,500 at the 10th Swindon Half Marathon yesterday.
Marlborough-based ultra runner Nathan Montague, who won the second staging of the race in 2005, returned to take the honours again in 1:16:25, less than a year after breaking his leg in a car accident.
The 32-year-old said: “I feel lucky to even be here at all. This time last year, I was on crutches after breaking my foot in a marathon.
“Then in January, I had been back in training for five days and I was involved in a serious car accident, so I’m ecstatic to be fit, healthy and running at all.
“I only entered on a whim in the week, because I felt up to it.
“I’ve always wanted to come back and run here, because it’s my home race and I’ve been involved with Swindon Harriers since I was 15, but injuries and other races got in the way.”
Fellow Harrier Gary O’Brien followed Montague in 1:17:11 and early leader Matthew Sims, from Oxford, completed the top three in 1:18:06.
O’Brien said: “Maybe I pushed a bit hard at Cricklade last week, because I just felt my legs tighten up.
“Nathan went by quickly and I couldn’t go with him, I’m happy with the time, but I’m now focused on Swindon 10k in November.”
In the ladies’ race, Sarah Fraser made sure her trip from Leicester was not in vain, slicing eight minutes off her previous best, to win in 1:27:48.
The Northern Irish triathlete said: “I’m delighted to have taken so much off my PB. I normally run in Leicester this weekend, but I’m running for a friend in Aldbourne, whose son has Cystic Fibrosis, so decided to run in Swindon this year.”
Fraser was followed by Swindon pair Stephanie Knott in 1:33:42 and Kuldeep Bruce in 1:34:12, who each claimed personal bests alongside a place on the podium.
Knott of Swindon Striders said: “I’ve done this event before, but today is my best performance. I’m really pleased to have knocked five minutes off my PB.”
Bruce, of Old Town, who picked up running four years ago thanked her club Swindon Shin Splints for their support.
“I haven’t looked back since joining them,” she said.
“I have a mentor who helps with my training and it’s paying off. I’m still in shock, I can’t believe it.”
Youngster Ciaran Cooper, another Harrier, was fastest in the shorter multi-terrain race. He covered the muddy five-mile course through Coate water park in 29:08.
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