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Runners beat the heat
By

THE temperature gauge may have passed the 30C mark but that did not stop more than 2,000 runners taking part in the phenomenal 25th Review Half Marathon, in on Sunday.

A total of 2,068 runners a Review Half Marathon record were under starter's orders as they lined up in Verulamium Park to compete in the gruelling 13.1mile trek. The new route took them through Harpenden and Redbourn before racing through the city centre.

As temperatures soared, the runners used their last reserves for the final mile along St Peter's Street, George Street and Abbey Mill Lane before heading back to the park.

Hundreds of supportive onlookers cheered Peter Stainer on as he raced through the finish line in an impressive one hour, 15 minutes and 43 seconds.

The Chorleywood vet, who competed in the male 40 to 49 category, said: "It was very hard in this weather and I started to wilt around the eight-mile mark. I had hoped to win today, so I stuck with the front runners and paced myself until the end."

Defending champion Laura Cowley, 24, from Hatfield, was the first woman to cross the line with a finishing time of one hour 21 minutes and 19 seconds slashing four seconds off last year's time.

Winning for the third time in a row, the Herts Phoenix AC runner said: "This route was worse than last year. Folly Lane was a killer. I tried to dig in deep, but once I reached the hill that just went out of the window."

Former Mayor Malcolm MacMillan joined 212 walkers to take part in the Walking Marathon, which started two hours before the main event.

Other dignitaries supporting the events included Mayor Alison Steer, Harpenden Mayor John Chambers, MP Anne Main as well as district councillor Anthony Rowlands, who took part in the half marathon.

Sporting a huge blister, Sarah Mescal, from Linden Place, , was the first woman walker to cross the line.

Hot on her heels was Sidhartartha Patel, from Finchley, who scooped first prize for being the first male walker to finish the race.

Shorter runs of 5km and 1.5miles attracted hundreds of younger runners who were pushed round in buggies, cradled in a baby slings or hoisted on the shoulders of their weary parents.

The 5km run pulled in 248 entrants while 1,239 tiny tots and 486 adults took part in the 1.5-mile fun run.

Around 14 schools took part in the fun run including schools from across Hatfield, Harpenden and . The schools challenge shield for the highest percentage of pupils taking part was won by St Columba's School with around 78 runners.

8:55amThursday15thJune2006

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