Chester Half Marathon 2004: MIKE Proudlove and Louise Cooper were convincing winners of the Shell Chester Half Marathon, hosted by West Cheshire Athletic Club and Chester City Council on Sunday.
Proudlove, 34, of South Cheshire, built up a sizeable lead at the head of the field of more than 2,000 runners in sweltering conditions.
The City of Stoke AC athlete posted 70 minutes eight seconds, well clear of Simon Shiels (Abergele Harriers), who clocked 70:53, and over-45 veteran Tony Power (Telford AC), who clocked 71:42 for third spot - the same position he finished in last year's race.
Said Proudlove: 'I felt heavy-legged after doing the London Marathon only four weeks ago, and I've been injured a little bit from that, so I've only had two good weeks of training and I didn't ease down for the Chester race, so it was just part of my training.'
The women's race was won by former Chester College student Louise Cooper, of Reading, who was delighted with her victory on her return to the city.
Representing Belgrave Harriers, she had been a member of Chester and Ellesmere Port AC during her student years, and clocked 83 minutes five seconds.
She said: 'It's always good to come back to Chester and I'm very happy with my win. I used to do all my training around the city, so it's really nice to come back and see all the people who I know and it's lovely to run around the places I know well.
'The conditions were very warm. I did the London Marathon a few weeks ago in two hours 54 minutes and that was the other extreme - freezing cold and raining heavily, but it was very hot in Chester and I was definitely struggling towards the end.
'I was four minutes slower than my personal best on Sunday in Chester but I was quite happy to just hold on to first place.'
Cooper, who finished fourth at Chester last year in 88:16, finished clear of second-placed Emma Parry, (Wrexham AC) who clocked 84:24, and Kerrie Wood (Stockport Harriers) finished third in 85:29.
The first local athlete to finish was Helsby Running Club's John Wycherley, who secured fifth position with a time of 73:22.
West Cheshire AC's Dave Alexander posted 78 minutes, just in front of team-mate Duncan Bell.
Benedikt Hieber, of Telford AC, won the over-45 veteran award with a time of 78:28, and Mervyn Ward (Helsby) won the over-45 prize in 80:02.
Les Coathup (Buckley) won the over-50 prize in 80:47, from second-placed Ian Carson (Wrexham AC) with 84:42 and Bob Benson (West Cheshire AC) third in 85:37.
Helen Davies, of Wrexham AC, won the over-35 veteran award in 87:36, ahead of runner-up Jane Mountford (Buckley) in 87:44 and third-placed Dianne Turner (Helsby) who posted 95:45.
Catherine Hewitt (Wrexham AC) won the over-40 veteran prize in 91:54, ahead of second-placed Catherine Hurst (Telford AC) in 93:16. Marian Martin won the over-45 honours in 86:46 and Sandra Owen (Tattenhall) collected top spot in the over-50 category with a time of 97:13, while Justin Realff was the first club male in 79th place in 86:28, ahead of Justin Wyke 1231st in 89:27.
Other Tattenhall finishers were Dave Ratcliffe 228th in 94:08, Mark Smith 258th in 95.16, Mark Hockedy 266th in 95:32, Greg Berti 292nd in 96.10 (pb), Sian Morris 427th in 100:08, Peter Marshall 428th in 100:19, Andrew Thomas 536th in 103:11, Alison Smith 549th in 103:29, Caroline Howard 708th in 106:43, Alison Grundy 710th in 106:46, Maura Kinahan 1,212th in 119:38 and Tessa Swaine 1,388th in 125:31. A team of West Cheshire AC veterans finished 12th in the British Masters Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park, Birmingham, on Saturday.
Ten juniors from West Cheshire AC attempted to beat Paula Radcliffe's opening 2,000m time when she broke the British and Commonwealth 3,000m record in Manchester.
Danielle Bentley, Gemma Mayled, Danielle Erskine, Abbey Noble, Lucinda Dodd, Sophie Stanton, Martin Radcliffe, Sam Pierre-Louis, Ben Ravenscroft and Lewis Jones finished just outside Radcliffe's performance after completing a sprint relay over the distance staged at the Kingsley Carnival.
The 10 West Cheshire AC youngsters finished second in the relay race, behind winners Halton and Frodsham who smashed the target time by 14 seconds, while Hornsmill won the primary schools event.
Fixtures this weekend include the North of England Junior Track and Field Championships at Manchester tomorrow and Sunday, and the George Edwards Memorial Track and Field Meeting at Warrington on Monday (12.30pm start).
Entries are now being accepted for the Junior 2k Challenge being held at Overleigh St Mary's School, Handbridge, Chester, on June 15. Any West Cheshire AC member wishing to compete should contact Jenny Manning.
A team from Tattenhall Runners tackled the Moel Eilio fell race over eight miles with more than 3,000 feet of ascent last week. Simon Ellis was 11th in 76:17, Steve Hammond 21st in 80:10, Sarah Hammond 44th in 87:56 and Greg Berti 67th in 95:44.
Helsby Running Club's leader at the Chester Half Marathon was John Wycherley in 1:13.22 in fifth position. Mervyn Ward followed in 1:20.02 in 24th position, Geoff Shaw 180th in 1:31.53 and Manfred Keune 932nd in 1:52.26.
Dianne Turner finished in 1:35.45 for 272nd position, Vanessa Griffiths 379th in 1:39.14, Henrietta Grice 470th in 1:41.31, Carol Shaw 529th in 1:42.58, Jackie Keasley 854th in 1:50.18 and Valerie Ball 1081st in 1:56.20.