York Knavesmere Harriers held their annual Brass Monkey Half Marathon today, with 2000 entries; it proved as popular as ever in its 29th year.
There was talk of Darren Bilton (Leeds City) as a favourite amongst spectators (2nd in 2009) before the race, in the absence of last year’s winner and course records holder Matthew Pierson (Holmfirth). But in the end it was Pierson’s own tip that proved to be the run a way winner, Pierson just hoped to hang onto his course record a little longer.
After a slight delay to the start time, Paul Martelletti (Victoria Park Harriers & Tower Hamlets AC) hit the front from the gun, holding a 45 second led over Steve Littler (Wesham Road Runners) as the runners turned onto the loop part of the course (approx 3.5 miles). Dave Turnbull (Holmfirth) was a further 20 seconds down pulling a long a group of four that included Bilton.
By 7.5 miles Martelletti had added another minute to his lead and looked comfortable on the slight rise out of Appleton Roebuck, Littler was still a clear second and James Buis (Heaton Harriers) holding a few metres over Turnbull (3rd in 2009).
Martelletti’s win never looked in doubt (though his winning margin was never going to be the 7 minutes Pierson had in hand 12 months ago due to the higher standard at the front of the race this year – 6 runners were faster than last years 2nd place). It was just a matter of how close he could get the course record set last year. Crossing the line in 1 hr 5 mins and 21 secs, Martelletti sliced 14 seconds of the previous record, but an agonising 2 seconds slower than his PB. Littler finished a clear second, with Buis seeing of Turnbull (happy with a PB after two years wrecked by injuries) in the closing miles for 3rd. James Bullman (North York Moors AC) was 5th (1st Vet 40) and Darran Bilton 6th (1st Vet 45)
The Women’s race was much closer in the early stages, with 5 runners going though 3.5 miles within 30 seconds of each other. Amy Green (Keighley & Craven AC) held a slight lead over Stacey Rogers (Heaton Harriers), with Joanna Goorney (Wesham Road Runners) in third. Four miles later as they left Appleton Roebuck, Green had extended her lead to 30 seconds over Rogers and Sarah Jarvis (Bingley) had moved up to 3rd a further 30 seconds back.
On the run in to the finish Stacey Rogers (Heaton Harriers) had a storming run, to not only pull back the 30 second deficit, but to pull out a 30 second lead by the line. Green held onto second despite Jarvis (1st Vet 35) closing the gap. Joanna Goorney took the Vet 40 prize, with Bridget Coomber (Denby Dale) the Vet 45.
2012 will be the 30th running of the race, will anyone break the 65-minute barrier?