Runners on a high after Dunfermline Half Marathon
HUNDREDS of runners experienced that winning feeling after completing the gruelling SignPlus Dunfermline Half Marathon on Sunday.
Only one athlete could be first across the line - Tewolderberhan Menigsteab took that honour - but everyone deserved their medal for staying the course in rising temperatures.
Race director John Martindale said, "The runners were suffering a bit, as it was very hot and humid, but they performed very well on what is a fast course.
"We had some top-class athletes out there but a lot of local runners too who made a great effort - and not just on Sunday - to complete the half marathon."
Welcomed by cheering crowds in Pittencrieff Park, Menigsteab, who is from Eritrea and runs for Shettleston Harriers, won the race in 1 hour 6 minutes and 33.1 seconds after finishing as runner-up in 2009.
Tom Doe (Lincoln) was second in 1:07:12 with Martin Williams (unattached) third in 1:07:41.
Susan Partridge (Leeds City) was the first female across the finishing line in a time of 1:16:24 while fitness trainer and Carnegie Harrier Tommy Lawrence was the first 'local' runner home.
He retained the Gary Riddell Trophy, the seventh year in a row he's won it, when he finished 12th in a time of 1:16.40 while fellow Harrier, Isobel Burnett, won the female category in a time of 1:36.55 after crossing the line in 99th place.
Other Harriers to finish were Gail Murdoch (1:39.29) and Mary Western (1:40.30) to collectively win the bronze team medals.
Allan Fotheringham was 38th in 1:25.05 and Ian Johnston finished second M50 (43rd overall) in 1:27.39 to add to Lawrence's performance and ensure bronze team medals for the Carnegie men.
The half marathon also hosted the Scottish Athletics Championships and the Stewarts Road Race Grand Prix.
Mr Martindale said, "The half marathon is the only Grand Prix event in Scotland and this year Scotland beat England, after losing the previous three years.
"There are four events in the Grand Prix series, one in each of the four home countries, and it gives athletes the chance to represent their country.
"There aren't that many opportunities to do that so, as a consequence, we have the best runners in the UK on our doorstep."
The Run Dunfermline weekend started on Friday with more than 300 primary school kids taking part in the cross-country and relay festivals in Pittencrieff Park.
The number of half marathon entries was slightly down on last year but the weekend also contained the Dunfermline Children's Gala, the Relay for Life in Dalgety Bay, the Race for Life in Kirkcaldy and the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships in Kelty.
Mr Martindale said, "We had about 600 entries, which was OK, but there was a lot of competition for this weekend.
"We could have timed it better and hopefully we'll revert back to late May/early June next year.
"The gala and the half marathon are two of the biggest events in Dunfermline's calendar and, apart from the pressure of cleaning up the park in time, it went well.
"Maybe it's a good idea having them on the same weekend, maybe not, but there were no problems and a real air of co-operation.
"Who knows? If we run our event earlier next year maybe it could become a fund-raiser for the gala?"
The gala meant that the 5K race, normally run on the Saturday, was switched to Sunday and the Step Up Family Fun Run was also that day.
Mr Martindale said, "I was in the park about 5.30am and we didn't leave until 7.30pm that evening.
"In one sense it was a bit more efficient having the 5K at 3pm (rather than the Saturday) but it made it a long day.
"We had good organisation, we hit all the time slots and we had a great team with around 180 volunteers at the water stations, marshals etc, which is the most we've ever had.
"It's a big thank-you to them, without their help and all our sponsors, this event would not be viable."