It was an emphatic win by Michelle Buckle at Sunday’s (18 August) Leek Half Marathon. She finished more than 8 minutes ahead of the second female at one of the country's hilliest halfs.
The Leek Half Marathon is organised by the same team responsible for the Alsager 5 and Meerbrook 15K. This race has achieved iconic status due to its quad-burning, lung-busting climbs around Staffordshire Moorlands with 1200ft of elevation. However, the stunning views across the Roaches provided a temporary (and welcome!) relief.
Fine weather made a pleasant backdrop as the race started at 10am. Runners headed out of Brough Park and into a downhill section that lulled first timers into a false sense of security. Although this was quickly followed by the first of the hills. There were more ups and downs as they passed through attractive villages in and around Leek.
Michelle Buckle’s 30 plus years of racing came to the fore as she dominated the women’s race from the outset. Her experience at this distance and previous wins made her a favourite amongst 250 runners at the third toughest half marathon in the UK and she didn't disappoint.
The Newcastle (Staffs) AC athlete was the winning female in 1:38:35 with a substantial gap between her and Kathryn Hutchinson of Macclesfield Harriers who was second in 1:46:44. Chelsea Baker of Royal Navy Athletics came third in 1:47:21.
Nick Tynan of Sale Harriers was the overall winner in 1:20:19.
There were Moorland pottery mugs for NSRRA group winners and a tech t-shirt for every finisher.
The event included a popular 2 mile fun run organised by Brough Park RC