Brown and Farrow take top spots in super start to year
A RECORD field and an exciting tussle for the top spots contributed to a successful Cleethorpes AC New Year's Day 10K.
The road race featured its highest ever tally of finishers – with 461 completing the 6.2-mile course.
Cool and bright conditions greeted the runners and, although there was a moderate wind, it was not as strong as in recent days.
A large crowd lined the streets to cheer on the competitors as they aimed to start 2013 in style.
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At the sharp end, three previous winners were among those battling it out for top honours.
Last year's winner, Richard Brown, 2007 winner Pumlani Bangani and 2011 king Gregan Clarkson all came to the fore in the early stages.
As the race went on it became a straight battle between Lincoln Wellington AC runner Brown, a former Louth AC man, and Bangani, the Scunthorpe-based South African.
Eventually, Brown pulled away and won in 32 minutes 46 seconds.
Bangani was second in 33.08 ahead of Kimberworth Striders' Chris Cotton. Clarkson was fourth in 35.08.
There was a solid run from Wolds Veteran Runners Club athlete Gary Thomas in sixth position – the first person home affiliated to a local club.
The Franklin College sports studies lecturer from Grimsby clocked 35.19.
Just one place behind him was club-mate Richard Harris, who had an impressive run of 35.32.
Harris, a promising junior in his younger years, recently returned to the sport and his military background in the intervening years has kept him in good shape.
Trevor Green (36.57) and Kevin Green (37.02) were the first two Cleethorpes AC runners home.
In the ladies' race, Natalie Farrow, pictured, was first back with 37.49.
The Louth resident, who runs for Lincoln Wellington AC, will now hope to push on to bigger and better things in 2013.
Second female was Cleethorpes AC's Beverley Wilson, who put in a very good run to finish in 39.05.
Given Wilson is in the Over-45 ladies' category, it was a strong display from an athlete who has been impressive on the local scene – and beyond – over many years.
Kimberworth Striders duo Lindsay and Samantha James were third and fourth, in 40.43 and 40.44 respectively.
There were a string of good performances from veterans.
These included Chris Bromfield, who, running in the Over-60s male category, posted 39.41 – a time which would have been the envy of runners many years his junior.
In the ladies' Over-60s category, Jane Morley, of Wolds Vets, clocked a superb 44.23 – underlining her reputation as one of the best in the country in her age category on the roads. She is particularly formidable over the shorter 5K distance.
Down the field there were countless noteworthy performances by competitors all keen to get the new year off to a fit and healthy start.
See tomorrow's Telegraph for full results and more pictures.