PACE ace Marcus Bennetto had reasons to smile after taking more than three minutes off his personal best finishing fourth in the Tewkesbury half-marathon.

The Forest of Dean Athletic Club speedster raced home in one hour 16 minutes six seconds to take the senior class as 850 runners took on the 13.1-mile challenge on Sunday, May 12.

Spirit of Monmouth’s Allan Meek was also on song, winning the over 50 men’s class in 37th overall in 1.28.39, while clubmate Luke Felton also ran well to finish 152nd overall in 1.42.29.

Tom Beale of Caldicot Running Club finished in 1.57.59 and Newent Runners’ Anita Sanders made it home in 2.49.24.

The half marathon came a week after the Newport marathon and 10K, which saw more than 50 local Wyedean and Severnside club runners in action.

Thirty three runners from FoDAC, Spirit of Monmouth, Chepstow Harriers, MonRoss Trailblazers, Caldicot RC and Newent Runners took on the 26.2-mile marathon challenge, with Spirit’s Rich Foster the region’s fastest racer in 2.43.32, more than five and half minutes better than his recent Great Welsh Marathon effort.

MonRoss duo Gavin Jones (2.52.06) and Andrew Stephens (2.58.02) also impressed ducking under the three-hour mark in the 2,089-strong field, while FoDAC’s Andrew Kaye (3.13.48) took an excellent third in the men’s over-55 class.

Quickest local woman was Spirit’s Marina Wright whose time of 3.40.55 qualified her for next year’s London Marathon.

Other Spirit times were David Mather (3.18.51), who also qualified for London, Katie Spencer (4.50.45), Sian Burns (4.50.47) and David Rutter (4.53.01), while Chepstow Harriers’ nine finishers were Glenn Meek (3.23.19), Andy Ost (3.37.52), Jamie Goddard (3.40.20), David Somersall (3.40.55), Sian Griffith (4.02.41), Kim Carwardine (4.16.05), Amy Brownhill (4.18.27), Brett Regulski (4.20.22) and Alun Fuller (5.01.00).

Seven FoDAC runners competed – Andrew Kaye (3.13.48), Andy Raynor (3.14.35), Patrick Rennison (3.50.13), Mark Channer (4.02.28), Nicola Hall (4.11.15), David Thomas (4.26.50) and Liselette Adams (4.32.31) – while Caldicot had four in action – Leif Geoghegan (3.37.41), Damian Waite (3.39.54), Stuart Dolbel (3.55.28) and Mark Holloway (4.33.00).

Newent’s four finishers were Andrew Callard (3.16.54), Adrian Fishpool (3.45.23), Duncan Cresswell (3.45.37) and Carolyn Brown (4.48.10) as Mon Ross woman Vanessa Bell ducked under the four-hour mark (3.57.34).

Another 22 local club runners were in action in the 2,271-strong 10k race, with some excellent performances, including Harriers’ Martyn Winser finishing 21st overall and sixth in the over-35 category in 35.03 and Katy Roy placing sixth fastest woman in 38.49.

Clubmates Jane Horler and Brenda Avery took age-group prizes, the former finishing second fastest over-45 woman in 42.55 and the latter fastest over-65 in 49.41, while other Chepstow finishers were Gary Price (56.05) and Rebekah Lane (1.00.17).

Spirit’s Allan Meek ran 39.00 for 74th overall and fourth in the men’s over-50 class, while Nerys Chaplin was seventh fastest over-35 woman in 45.14, and there were PBs for Steve Gale (49.34), Sharon Gale (52.22) and Sally Williams (58.14).

FoDAC’s Cory Sherwin was 54th overall in 37.56, and the club’s other five finishers were Andrew James (45.02), Tim Watkins (45.34), Paul Turner (52.32), Andrew Knott (1.00.22) and Jane Van Soest-Smith (1.11.08).

Other locals included Caldicot’s Ceri Denning (49.27) and Jonathan Ho (1.03.48),and Newent’s Russ Dyer (51.43), Emily Trenwith (1.12.17) and Katie Cook (1.12.17).