THOUSANDS of runners made their way on to the old Severn Bridge to take part in the annual Severn Bridge Half Marathon and 10k.

Across the two races, a total of 2,800 competitors signed up, despite temperatures reaching 25C.

The event, first held in 2014, saw participants start on the western carriageway of the bridge, running over it, round the countryside and villages in England and back over the bridge to the finish line in Wales.

The 10km course started further back on the Welsh side of the motorway, with competitors running over the bridge and back.

The winner of the race was Richard Henderson, of Bedford and County Athletics Club, with a time of one hour, 12 minutes and 51 seconds.


Mr Henderson was competing in the event for the first time.

"It was nice," he said. "There was a group of three of us at the front so I tried not to push too hard because of the heat.

"It's a good course - apart from the hill at half way - and it's been a beautiful day."

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(Richard Henderson, winner of the Severn Bridge Half Marathon.)

Mr Henderson was followed by Matthew Rees of Swansea Harriers (one hour, 13 minutes and 41 seconds) and Richard Jackson-Hookins of Les Croupiers Running Club, who finished in one hour, 14 minutes and 25 seconds.

Susan Duncan, of Weston Athletic Club, was the first woman home, completing the course in one hour, 27 minutes and one second.

"It's my first time doing the course," she said. "The support we have received from the crowds and the marshals has fantastic.

"It wasn't easy with the heat, and even without the heat it's a tough course."

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(Francesca Rawlings, Susan Duncan and Kelly Dicks collect their awards for topping the Severn Bridge Half Marathon.)

Mrs Duncan was followed by Francesca Rawlings, of Clevedon Athletic Club, who finished in one hour, 27 minutes and 44 seconds, and Kelly Dicks, who finished in one hour 31 minutes and 11 seconds.

In total, 1,335 runners completed the half marathon, with 1,086 completing the 10k.

Jamie Parry, of Park Bryn Bach running club was triumphant in the 10k race, finishing in 34 minutes and 49 seconds.

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(Ben Miles of Pontypool and District Runners, came second in the 10K.)

He was followed by 17-year-old Ben Miles of Pontypool and District Runners, who finished in 36 minutes and six seconds.

"I really enjoyed it," said Mr Miles. "I don't often get to run on the open roads, so that made a nice change.

"It's the first time I have done it - I only started doing this and joined a club in January.

"It was very hot, and quite hilly because of the bridge."

Rounding up the top three finishers in the 10km race was Michael Roderick, of Paul Popham Running Club. He finished in 36 minutes and 18 seconds.

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(Rachel Davies collecting her award for winning the women's 10K race.)

Rachel Davies, of Swansea Harriers, was the first woman to cross the line in the 10k, finishing in 39 minutes and 40 seconds.

"I did the half marathon the year before last and it was really tough, so I decided to step down to the 10k," she said.

"I enjoyed it, and there are some fantastic views as you are running.

"I'm doing the Amsterdam Marathon in October, so this was good practice for that."

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(Runners getting underway in the Half Marathon. Picture: Mark Lewis)

She finished ahead of Caroline Jones, and Chepstow Harriers' Katy Roy, who finished in 40 minutes and 25 seconds and 41 minutes respectively.

Paul Dodd, co-race organiser, thanked his team of volunteers for helping to make this year's event so successful.

"We have a fantastic team who help us put on the race," he said. "A lot of the team are runners, so they really get the event.

"Although the weather has been nice, it has been a challenge for us and the runners. Luckily we have got SARA on hand to provide treatment to anyone who suffered from dehydration.

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(Runners pushing a pram around the Half Marathon course. Picture: Mark Lewis)

"This year, we have seen a 50-50 split between the entrants to the half marathon and the 10k, and also a 50-50 split between the number of men and women entering, which can only be a good thing.

"A special thanks goes out to everyone here supporting our charities, St David's Hospice Care and the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.

"Overall I am very happy with today. Everything has gone according to plan."