BEN Cole has shot to the top of the Wiltshire rankings for 2019 after smashing his personal best in the Frankfurt marathon.

The 34-year-old Swindon Harrier has endured a long wait for this reward as he carved almost three minutes off his previous best with a time of 2hrs 24mins 46secs.

That is not only the quickest time by a Wiltshire runner this year but also quick enough to put him sixth in the 2019 South West rankings, so Cole was understandably delighted.

“I am very happy because my PB was about four-and-a-half years old,” said Cole.

“I have done a few marathons since then but none have gone to plan so to finally slice a decent two-and-a-half minutes off that time and break 2hrs 25mins for the first time is very satisfying.”

Cole, who is a Network Rail employee from Shaw Ridge, had prepared well for his trip to Germany running a big PB of 66:02 at the Great Scottish half marathon in Glasgow at the end of September.

That performance, in particular, gave him the confidence to really attack the Frankfurt event and with helpful conditions on the day all his plans came to fruition.

“I reached halfway bang on my pace target and was lucky to be in a group of five runners, including a former Swindon Harrier Alex Bampton,” added Cole.

“I felt strong in the second half and while I was waiting for the legs to die it wasn’t until the last 3k that I began to struggle.

“At that point it is a case of gritting your teeth and getting your head down to reach the finish line as fast as possible. I was hanging on but did it.

“It has been a long wait for sure but it feels good to finally get it right. With the marathon you just never know if it is going to be your day, or not.”

Former Harrier Alex Bampton fared even better as he finished in 2:21.54, which was a PB by just over two minutes.

SWINDON Harriers’ Josh Burns finished third overall and second junior in the Calne Clock Change 5k road race on Sunday with a time of 17:42.

HIGHWORTH Running Club teenager Kiya Dee continued her fine start to the new season with an impressive victory in the Junior Great South Run in Portsmouth, retaining the title she won 12 months ago.