The Plusnet Yorkshire Half Marathon in Sheffield yesterday was won by John Franklin from the London based Serpentine club.
Sheffield-born Franklin stamped his authority on the race in the early stages with last year’s winner Dave Archer (Hallamshire) his strongest challenger. Archer said, “John was very strong on the hills. I seemed to be catching him around the 10 mile mark but he was too strong for me”.
Franklin clocked 1:10:24 for the course which he described as fantastic, as was the support. “I was so disappointed about the race problems of two years ago due to the lack of water but the event has come back stronger than ever with credit due to the new management. It is a privilege to run in the event.
Attractive as the course is, the Sheffield Hills means it is not a course for superfast times and Franklin himself has a best of 1:08:52 set on a flatter course last year. A former student at Birkdale School where he was known more for his rugby than running, the 30 year old has an even more important date next weekend when he gets married in London.
Archer had a strong run. He is in the middle of a heaving racing schedule and ran a half marathon only two weeks ago in Cardiff. “You get addicted to them”, he joked. He ran faster than last year largely due to the perfect conditions which brought out thousands of spectators.
Third was Dutchman Robert Ton from Amsterdam giving the race an international flavour. He was delighted with his run although he found the hills a challenge. “There is nothing like that in Amsterdam”, he said.
The women’s award went deservedly to local runner Zanthe Wray (Hallamshire). Her time 1:23:12 beat her last year’s effort, when she was third, by exactly a minute. It was no surprise as the former Sheffield University student has had a fine winter where she has been a vital member of Hallamshire’s successful women’s team and has medals at Northern and National level. She plans another half marathon on a flatter course.
Runner up was Jenny Evans (Luton AC). A business Management student at Sheffield University, she has taken a year out for work placement back in Luton but was keen to return for this race and was rewarded by beating her previous best by six minutes with 1:25:42.
Kate Hastings (Totley AC), another with a much improved performance from last year was third in 1:26:49