By Alex Donald
Matt Clowes powered to his ninth win of the year as he defended his JCP Swansea Half Marathon title as Tracy Barlow retained her women’s crown.
The Cardiff AC runner produced another impressive display on Sunday stopping the clock in 65:49 just over a minute shy of his 64:44 course record from last year.
Clowes finished nearly a minute clear of repeat runner-up Josh Griffiths of Swansea Harriers who finished in 66:37.
The pair had shared the lead in the early stages with 10k passed in 30:40 but with Clowes making a decisive move soon after at the seven mile point.
He didn’t look back as the advantage grew in the final stages scoring an impressive victory over 2017 British Marathon Champion Griffiths.
Peter Huck of Barrow & Furness AC was the third man home in 68:12 with Cardiff AC’s James Hunt also sub 70 minutes with 68:58.
“It was a good race,” said Clowes. “Josh and I ran together in the early stages and it felt very easy early on. As soon as the turn came it got really tough at about seven miles because the wind was really strong.
“The crowds are really good here all the way around. Front runner always put on a great event’.
“I wanted to push for a course record but it just wasn’t the day to be honest.”
Commenting on forthcoming races Closed added: “I’ve got Highgate (10,000m) in two weeks. I’m not really a track boy anymore but I’ll go there and try to run low 29 minutes.”
Barlow was just as emphatic in the women’s race finishing some way short of her 73:51 course record form 12 months ago in 75:39.
Since last year’s race Barlow has lowered her own best for the distance to an impresseive 72:13 finishing fifth at the 2018 Commonwealth Half Marathon Championships and as a member of the Bronze medal winning team, running for England.
Charlotte Taylor-Green of Bristol & West AC was the next fastest athlete on paper and lived up to her billing as a podium favourite by finishing second in 66:58. Naomi Mitchell of Reading AC was next home in third.
“I’m pleased to take the win,” said Barlow. “I’m disappointed with my time but seeing how everybody else faired with it, it was quite a tough race, quite a tough day in the office.
“I’ve got some shorter races coming up with my club Thames Valley Harriers so that will be the aim for the summer, to get some speed in to my legs.”
Richie Powell stormed to his title defence in the wheelchair race with a time of 65:03.
The Ebbw Vale based athlete who competes for DSW Sport Wales was pleased with his performance despite the wind, following a break from the sport with pneumonia.
**Swansea Half Marathon organisers revealed on Sunday night that a runner had died during the race. A statement said: “With regret, we can confirm a participant has died at the JCP Swansea Half Marathon on Sunday 23rd June 2019.
“We are working closely with all emergency services into the circumstances of the incident. Our deepest condolences go to their family and friends at this time.”