COTSWOLD Running held their inaugural race with the Broadway Tower Marathon and half-marathon.

Seventy hardy runners braved wind, rain, and mud from Broadway Tower Country Park to Stanway and Winchcombe before looping back through the hills to return.

While the footpaths along the route are normally firm and friendly, the past six months of above-average rainfall turned the difficult race into a serious endurance challenge.

Towcester’s Simon Woodward won the half-marathon in an impressive one hour 59 minutes 56 seconds, closely followed by Winchesterbased ladies’ winner Ceci Davis-Hayes (2.06.44).

Stratford’s Dave Burford and Karl Potts rounded off the men’s top three, while Charlotte Jeffries and Sabrina Verjee finished second and third, less than a minute apart, in the women’s race.

Half-marathon runners continued to cross the line with sprint finishes and weary smiles over the following hour-and-a-half.

Tim Heslop was ninth in 2.22.14 and the first finisher out of nine competitors from Evesham Vale Running Club. Club-mate Lindsey Lewis-Painter produced a sprint finish to be only four places behind in 2.30.37.

In the marathon, the runners had increasingly difficult conditions to contend with but London teacher Jonny Muir dominated the field throughout, winning in 3.52.09.

Twenty-five minutes later, proud father Jeffrey Hayes, from Philadelphia, emulated his daughter by finishing second.

Cheltenham’s Corry Ravenscroft won a competitive ladies’ race, finishing in 5.17.52, overtaking Oxford’s Katy Fifield and Draycote’s Tracy Avill in the final miles.

Meanwhile, nine Evesham Vale members headed to Tewkesbury for the Guy Hawkes five-miler on the road in abysmal weather.

Seventh-placed Andrew Kendry (29.30) and Carol Kibble (40.25) in 178th overall led the club to the line.

Other Evesham Vale times, Broadway Tower half-marathon: 19 Denise Llewellyn- James 2.42.34, 20 Sue Wright 2.44.36, 23 David Hughes 2.46.46, 24 Jack Folkes 2.46.46, 27 Jo Williams 2.50.46, 31 Elaine Clarke 3.05.45, 40 Jo Sellick 3.20.17.

Guy Fawkes Five: 94 Adam Spiers 35.30, 99 Mark Edwards 35.50, 126 Paul Shrimpton 37.22, 225 Matt Telford 44.31, 227 Jackie Hobday 44.59, 252 Thomas Mckendry 47.44, 272 Nikki Holden 49.57, 336 Emily Archer 1.01.59.