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Runners keep their cool on a rain-soaked course + Audio
Buy this photo » The gun goes off for the start of the race
IT didn’t just rain – it poured down on the thousands of runners who took to the streets for the Oxford Half Marathon.
It was the third time the 13.1-mile race has been run and participants did not seem fazed by heavy rain as they lined up at the Kassam Stadium for the 9.30am start.
And while some complained about the gloomy weather, others said it kept them cool.
The race was won by Sri Lankan Olympic athlete Anuradha Cooray, who completed the route in one hour, six minutes and 56 seconds.
The 35-year-old, who is currently living in Wendover, said he was delighted with his victory.
He said: “I’m very happy with it. It was bad weather but I still won it so I’m happy.”
But he was not massively impressed with the soggy conditions.
“I think this is the worse one I’ve done,” he said.
“People around the course cheered me up.”
- Listen to Anuradha Cooray
Seasoned marathon runner Claire Bond, 45, was the first woman to cross the finish line.
Londoner and mum-of-one Ms Bond said: “I was very cold. It was really horrible out there today. It was cold, it was windy and about 10-and-a-half miles in I really felt the cold set in.
“I’m delighted to have won.
“I’ve done marathons before and I’m currently training for Frankfurt marathon which is in two weeks. I was pleased with my run, although I was slightly disappointed with my time of 82 minutes 30 seconds, but I think the weather probably accounts for that.
“Last year was beautiful and it was just so crisp and clear, the most beautiful autumn day, and this is slightly less of a beautiful autumn day, and it does make a difference.”
Also among the 3,507 runners who finished the race was Oxford City Council officer Claire Thompson and Labour councillor Mark Lygo, who ran together for the Dance for Parkinson’s charity.
They have so far raised almost £600 for the charity, which teaches people with Parkinson’s how to dance.
Ms Thompson said: “I feel quite elated that I finished it, but it’s only really thanks to my two running mates. I wouldn’t have made it without them. They kept me running.
“It was my second half-maration but my first for a long time. This weather’s great for me because I get really hot. It wasn’t too bad – cold at the start but great when I’m running.”
Mr Lygo, the city council’s board member for parks and sports, said: “I enjoyed it. It was a good run. We did it for a great cause and we really enjoyed it.”
- Listen to Mark Lygo and Claire Thompson
Race organiser Andy Heyes hailed the event as a massive success, and said he hoped more runners would take part next year.
He said: “It’s gone really well. We’re really pleased. Obviously the weather has been a bit of a dampener, but it hasn’t dampened too many spirits. We’ve had a great turnout – an increased field yet again from the first two years, so we’re pleased. We’re definitely aiming for more runners next year.”
- Listen to Andy Heyes
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