HOME-TOWN hero Naomi Warr was delighted to be first lady back at the Uttoxeter Half Marathon on Sunday.
The 35-year-old, who now runs for Hatton Darts, grew up in Uttoxeter and stormed round the course to better her fourth-place finishes in 2012 and 2011 – finishing 43rd overall with a time of 1hr 28mins 17secs.
Warr said: “As someone who grew up in Uttoxeter, this is always a favourite race of mine, and to finish first lady is really pleasing.
“I must give special thanks to my coach Mark White.”
Warr is an accomplished triathlete who has competed in a number of Ironman events, including the World Championships in Hawaii, representing Great Britain.
At the London Marathon last month, she set a new Hatton Darts record in 3.03.50.
The overall winner was Ben Gamble of Tipton Harriers who crossed the line in an outstanding time of 1.11.09, six minutes ahead of the next competitor.
The Darts were well represented with 13 runners out in a field of 340, and the red vests had another successful day, with some impressive individual performances – and the men’s team taking top points for the second fixture in the Burton Summer League.
Runners set off in warm weather with a gentle breeze, on what is regarded as a tough, challenging course around country lanes.
After 6.5 undulating miles runners faced a real test with a heart-thumping uphill climb to Marchington Woodlands.
More steady running followed until mile 11, where a gradual hill-climb sapped the legs.
At mile 12, a glorious downhill finish took runners onto Uttoxeter racecourse and the finish line.
First back for the Darts was Jamie Fletcher, showing no weariness in his legs after his recent debut at the London Marathon.
He ran superbly untill the latter stages, where he had to push hard before his customary fast finish to romp over the line in a fine time of 1.21.37 for 12th place and a new personal best (PB).
Next home was triathlete Andy Thornton, who paced himself well for a course best time of 1.23.02 and 18th place. Stan Knopik, still suffering from a heavy cold, gave his all to finish in 1.27.04.
Next back was men’s captain Mark Slade, running a course best time of 1.30.23 (58th), ahead of Nigel Elson, who ran determinedly to clock 1.31.32 (64th).
A rare appearance at the distance for final counter Chris Fletcher ended in a time of 1.37.25 for 99th place.
Jonathan Gregson showed no ill-effects from his London marathon performance to clock 1.44.07 (139th).
Leading the ladies home, Warr not only took first place in the women’s race (43rd overall) but also recorded a personal best time.
Next club runner home was Claire Calladine, running her sixth Uttoxeter half marathon in 1.42.53 for 128th.
Emma Dyson ran well to clock 1.55.14 (228th), ahead of the ever-dependable Carol Sharratt in 2.03.37 (269th).
Aliison Larwood prefers her off-road running but adapted well to the hilly course and finished in 2.07.14 (290th).
The final Darts lady home was Jane Wade who paced herself well to cross in 2.16.00 (324th).