AN "electric atmosphere" gripped Pittencrieff Park as the SignPlus Dunfermline Half Marathon got under starters orders at the weekend.

Runners refused to let the rainy weather put a dampener on proceedings as they limbered up to run in the 25th anniversary of the race.

A Scotland v England challenge match added spice and quality to the head of the field of runners as they ran over the newly designed course.

Shettleston Eritrean Tsegezab Woldemichael was looking to retain his title and soon hit the front as the runners headed out along the cycle path towards Oakley and Cairneyhill.

Though chased by club colleague Tsegai Tewelde, Woldemichael opened up a 22-second gap and he was able to return home unpressed, crossing the finishing line at Pittencreiff Park in a time of 64 minutes and 47 seconds.

GB internationalist Rebecca Robinson placed 11th overall to emerge as the female winner in a time of 74 minutes and 48 seconds.

Falkirk Victoria athlete Fiona Matheson took second female, to win the Scottish championship and Scottish veteran championship, while England defeated Scotland in the challenge match.

Race organiser John Martindale said, "It started drizzling around 9.30am and just got heavier but it was an electric atmosphere thanks to the 25th anniversary celebrations, Scottish Championship and international field we had at the front.

"It is the second highest number of participants we've had since I've organised it.

"Whereas last year we had nearly 200 entries on the day, this year we had only 38.

"If the weather had been more favourable we would have broken the record comfortably." Martindale was delighted with the success of the new course, although one female runner required medical attention after she collapsed on entering the park in the race's final stages.

"Parts of it are very undulating and the ones that like it are the faster runners, as it means you can really push up and down, whereas the slower runners don't get the same benefits.

"One lady had almost finished when she began to feel unwell and wobbly and then fell over.

"She was taken to the first aid tent where she was in good hands and was released without having been admitted to hospital." Martindale gave special praise to all the volunteers who gave up their time over the entire weekend, which incorporated school events, short course races, an 'Active Fife' Expo and an international 'Science in Sport' conference.

"We have a great team and fantastic marshalls, who were standing out in the rain from 9.30am, so a big thank you to them.

"We couldn't do it without the volunteers, the supervisors, the marshalls, the water station teams, they are all superb supporters of the event," he added.

"The whole weekend was a success, from Friday morning with the primary schools in association with Dunfermline and West Fife Sports Council, right through until Sunday evening.

"Friday was a most entertaining and stimulating day in itself.

"There were some very, very good young runners and you could see it in their style and attitude.

"It was great for those children to have the opportunity to run on a Scottish Championship course." Inverkeithing 60-year-old Alan Durham, who finished the 5k in 52nd position in a time of 36:56, was awarded the £1000 bicycle spot prize, donated by Sandy Wallace Cycles, Inverkeithing, while Hanna Miedema (26) broke the world record for pogo-balling one mile, covering the precisely measured one mile course in 26:49.09, beating the old record established by a USA athlete in 2006 by more than 16 minutes.

Full results special in this week's Dunfermline Press.