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Newark Half Marathon a big success as course records broken, Sonia Samuels wins the female race for the second year in a row while Daniel Connolly pips previous winner Joe Wilkinson at the line





Old rivalries were reignited in the D B Wood Newark half Marathon this year.

Previous winner Joe Wilkinson was narrowly beaten at the end of the race by a man he bettered in 2019, Daniel Connolly.

Wilkinson from Bingley Running Club was bested by just three seconds and had to settle for second place .

It was a thrilling end to a race that saw 704 runners start and finish the race in cooler conditions than last year.

The cooler conditions also saw several race records broken with five people beating the course record.

The course record had stood at 1-07-29 for the males and 1-14-34 for female runners.

Sonia Samuels who won the race last year, broke her course record when she crossed the line as the first woman.

Race winner, Connolly from Bridgnorth said the race was a hard event after he crossed the line in 1-05-58 setting a new course record and eclipsing the old one by over 90 seconds.

Daniel Connolly finishes first in the 2023 Newark D B Wood half-marathon.
Daniel Connolly finishes first in the 2023 Newark D B Wood half-marathon.

The winner had finished behind Wilkinson in the 2019 race and it was his year to shine at Newark.

"I do a lot of fell and trail running, this is my first half-marathon in two years," said Connolly.

"I had to push hard because there were some very good runners.

"It was a great contest against Joe.

"At the end, I was thinking 500 quid for five to ten minutes of absolute pain was a good turnover."

Connolly said he enjoyed racing on the course and was more than five minutes faster than his performance in 2019.

"It was fantastic running this course, I love this part of the world, it is just beautiful."

Joe Wilkinson who lives in Sleaford ran in second in his second Newark half-marathon.

The first four men across the line of the D B Wood Newark Half Marathon.Left to right- Elliot Smales (fourth) , Daniel Connolly (winner) , Joe Wilkinson (second), and Frank Baddick (third).
The first four men across the line of the D B Wood Newark Half Marathon.Left to right- Elliot Smales (fourth) , Daniel Connolly (winner) , Joe Wilkinson (second), and Frank Baddick (third).

"I ran almost a minute and a half under my course record today, I am delighted with that.

"Dan today deserved it, he took the lead for most of the race.

"I sat on his shoulder but at around 12 and a half miles, he put in a little surge and I just didn't have enough left."

Frank Baddick from Newham and Essex Beagles Athletic Club ran in third before Elliot Smales from Rotherham came across the line in fourth.

Samuel Roberts rounded out the top five, running in fifth.

"They drew a really good field of athletes, which was great to see," said Smales.

"The prize money is attractive because very few races are still doing that."

In the women's run, history did repeat itself, with former Olympian Sonia Samuels winning for the second year in a row.

Samuels beat her old course record of 01-14-34, coming across the line in 1-12-31, eclipsing last year's effort by over two minutes.

Former Olympian Sonia Samuels won the women's race for the second year in a row, seen here with mayor Pamela Ball.
Former Olympian Sonia Samuels won the women's race for the second year in a row, seen here with mayor Pamela Ball.

"It is a great event," said Samuels.

"It is very well supported the whole way around the course, there are always people shouting.

"They are a nice group of volunteers who are always there to work together to help you.

"It was different today, there was a strong breeze for the first five miles.

"I tried to stay relaxed and not use too much energy.

"It was drizzling which was quite nice compared to last year because last year was so hot.

"Conditions were much more enjoyable this year."

Samuels added that she planned to come back next year and attempt to secure her hat-trick win in the race.

Newark and district runners fared well with Jan Bailey crossing in 11th, Leigh Marshall in 17th, Oliver Crampton in 24th and Geoffrey Gregory in 26th being the best for the men.

Newark's Becky Taylor finished as the third female runner, behind Samuels and Hannah Berry.

Heather Tomlinson and Rachel Doherty rounded out the top five in the women's.

Francesca Tricarico with running partner Scott Wrigley who raised money for the Children's Bereavement Centre
Francesca Tricarico with running partner Scott Wrigley who raised money for the Children's Bereavement Centre

Newark Athletic Club won the Bellway team prize with the team featuring

Becky Taylor, Geoff Gregory, Oliver Crompton, Leigh James Marshall.

Oliver Crampton and BeckyTaylor at the start line.
Oliver Crampton and BeckyTaylor at the start line.

"Conditions were a lot better than they were last year, the support was fantastic all over the course," said Oliver Crampton.

"It is great to see the support of the volunteers and sponsors such as D B Wood.

"There is a lot of money raised for charity and I look forward to running in it next year."

"We had a few runners from our club run personal best times," said Becky Taylor from Newark athletic club.

"It is always good to run in your hometown race and hear the marshalls and support shouting your name."

People gather around for the award presentations.
People gather around for the award presentations.

"I thoroughly enjoyed this year's race and I love running in my hometown event.

"It was a wonderful experience and was very well supported.

"I am over the moon as I achieved a personal best half marathon time and also the second local runner award," said Leigh James Marshall from Newark Athletic Club.

"A massive thanks to all of the organisers, volunteers, sponsors, and supporters who help bring this fantastic event to the town."



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