Over 3,000 athletes descended on the resort for the Blackpool Festival of Running, when Saturday’s 10k, 5k and 2k races were staged on the hottest day of the year. Fortunately it was cooler for Sunday’s Marathon and Half-marathon, though controversy would raise the temperatures of the organisers.
READ MORE: Full race results
The results of the women’s marathon were thrown into disarray when two of the first three were revealed to be male athletes, using the numbers of female friends/partners.
More than a dozen were disqualified and the prize presentation was scrapped.
Ron McAndrew of organisers Fylde Coast Runners said: “It is blatant cheating and cannot be tolerated.
“It is very dangerous to do this and more so in a marathon. In the event of any accident or illness they are not covered by the event’s UK Athletics insurance, which could have serious consequences.”
McAndrew added that those disqualified had been banned from FCR events and in some cases their running clubs had been informed.
The men’s marathon was won by Poole AC’s Richard Swindlehurst in 2hrs,42mins, 03secs. Neil Wicks of Stratford-on-Avon AC was second (2.47.17) and John McDougal third (2.49.17). Ugis Datavs of Wesham Road Runners was fifth in 2.50.01.
Some 1,600 runners contested the Marathon and Half-marathon on a wet Sunday morning.
The half-marathon was won by Scott Mathews of East Cheshire Harriers and Tameside AC in 73.51, with Alex Whittem of Calder Valley Fell Runners second (74.56) and Ian Hargreaves third (78.13). Joe Greenwood of Lytham St Annes Road Runners was sixth in 1.20.40.
The women’s half-marathon winner was Jo Armitage of Vegan Runners, 38th overall in 89.38, one place ahead of Morpeth Harrier Helen King (89.45). April Caufield of Halifax Harriers was third (92.21).
Alistair Russell of Kendal AAC took the 10k in 33.29, from Blackburn Harriers’ Tom Blaney (35.15) and Todmorden Fell Runners’ John Cleaver (37.20).
The women’s race was won by Blackburn’s Jo Sharp (41.00), with another podium finish for April Caufield (41.34) and Angela Bell third (42.06)
In an exciting 5k, Ross McKelvie (19.28) got the better of Paul Weaden (19.44) in the closing stages to win, with Lancaster’s Roy McKee third (20.02). The first three women were Abbey Stratton of Trawden AC in 20.30 (fifth overall), Mia Ernson of Liverpool Harriers 22.40 (12th) and Lara Ingram-Weston of Chorley A&T 23.07 (15th).
In the 2k, Thomas Michael Hughes was first (7.43), Matthew Oakes second (7.52) and Samuel Kay third (7.49).
The female 2k was won by a nine-year-old, Ella Leonard, who was fifth overall with 8.49.
Lytham St Annes Road Runner Jessica Ramsden, 10, was second female and seventh overall with 8.59.
Organisers FCR wish to thank Blackpool Council, Blackpool Tramway Inspectors, Remote Medical Services and the 100-plus marshals and stewrds whose tireless support makes these events possible.