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Cusack smashes season's best despite 'horrid' conditions

James Cusack finished 319th in this year's Birmingham Great Run.
James Cusack finished 319th in this year's Birmingham Great Run.

BIRMINGHAM was hit by torrential downpours as 11,000 runners took part in this year’s Great Birmingham Run.

Four of these hardy souls were Stratford upon Avon AC members. James Cusack was the first of the quartet to cross the line, finishing in the top three per cent in 319th place in 1:30:19, a season’s best by almost eight minutes.

“The conditions were horrid,” said Cusack, who will be contesting the Dublin Marathon on 28th October.

“I ran through a massive puddle after the first mile, which meant I had two wet feet for 12 of the 13.1 miles. The course had a couple of undulations and a couple of hills, which made the route interesting.

“Initially I was a bit disappointed not to go under 1:30 but I left nothing out there and with the conditions I can’t complain. As always, I tried my best to do the Stratford vest proud.”

Half marathon specialist James Coy was the next SAC member to finish, placing 431st in a season’s best of 1:32:34, almost two minutes quicker than when he last did the race in 2015.

He was followed by Bogdan Ede in 1070th place in a PB of 1:40:50, followed by Rebecca Wass with a time of 2:09:49, 15 minutes quicker than her time in 2014.

The race was won by local runner Kadar Abdullahi of Birchfield Harriers in 1:06:06. Another Birmingham runner, former British international Nicola Sykes of Bourneville Harriers, was the first woman to finish, placing 43rd overall in 1:19:57.

Meanwhile, the third annual Manchester Half Marathon took place on Sunday, welcoming thousands of runners and spectators to the streets of Trafford.

The skies were grey and the roads wet but this didn’t dampen the spirits of more than 10,000 runners who took part in the flat, fast and friendly course.

With only a 41-metre elevation across the 13.1-mile course, the Manchester Half has become the race of choice for beginners, charity runners and elite athletes looking for a PB.

Lynne Hinson from Stratford AC had a fabulous race, finishing in a PB of 1:40:52, an improvement on her previous best time of 1:42:04 set at last year’s Kenilworth Half. She also finished 16th out of more than 500 in her age category.

“It was great,” said Hinson. “A great race, great atmosphere and the best part was I got my best ever half marathon time.”

Emma Donnelly, also representing Stratford, finished 2,160th in 1:44:30.

Andy Vernon, the 2014 European 10,000m silver medallist, won the race in 1:03:36. Fellow British international Lauren Howarth was the first woman to finish, clocking 1:14:13 to place 40th overall.

At the Leicester Half Marathon, Storm Callum provided plenty of problems for the 2,000 runners taking part, one of whom was Stratford AC’s Sarah Vernon, who ran 2:00:58.

In Daventry, two members took on the town’s 10km road race, which made use of footpaths, roads and underpasses.

Pippa Abrams was the first to finish, crossing the line within an hour in 224th place in 59:57. Contesting his third 10km race in as many weeks, Tom Horbury finished in 1:04:48.

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