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Rachel Fisher at Great Bristol Half Marathon

Personal bests & personal challenges at Great Bristol Half Marathon

We all do it. Cross the line, check the tech and sometimes get that instant burst of joy as the figures confirm a good run or even a personal best. We reckon Rachel Fisher (pictured above) achieved a lifetime best of 2:01:20 in the Simplyhealth Great Bristol Half Marathon on Sunday (15 September).

Rachel was among almost 10,000 runners taking part in the flat, fast 13.1 mile classic race at sea level beside the River Avon and under the extraordinary Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The pace at the front was has hot as the weather, with five men inside 70 minutes. Cardiff's sub-4-minute miler Matt Clowes (1:05:08) was more than three minutes clear of Alex Carter (Team Bath, 1:08:36 PB), Harry Allen (Bristol & West, 1:09:30), David Hudson (Huntingdon, 1:09:47) and Joe Turner (Cheltenham, 1:10:00).

There was also a three minute margin in the women's race as Annabel Gummow (Winchester, 1:17:05) stormed home to the finish at Anchor Road ahead of Jennifer Beckingham (1:19:39 PB) and Kate Drew (Taunton, 1:20:35 PB).

There were 10 music points around the course and flagging spirits were raised by the loud cheer point at the Children's Hospice en route.

Among those needing support were John Ballantyne and his husband Alan Collins, who finished together in 2:37:59. John, a former triathlete, was involved in a near fatal traffic collision in 2018 when he was struck by a drunk driver on a crossing in Bristol and has had to overcome enormous challenges, learning to walk and talk again. After the race John said: “I won’t let what happened define me and being active helps me reclaim some of who I was. The finish was especially poignant as I was running past the very place where I was struck by the drunk driver”.

Jayne Fearn of Simplyhealth Great Run said: “The Simplyhealth Great Bristol Half Marathon has been an amazing event. It was truly inspiring to see so many runners of all ages and abilities taking on their own personal challenge. We’re proud to be supporting people every step of the way to help them maintain better health through being more active.”

Full results via runABC South race listing here

Images courtesy Simplyhealth Great Bristol Run on Facebook

John Ballantyne and Alan Collins

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