By Liam Moakes 11/04 Updated: 11/04 19:18
AS PART of his build-up for the London Marathon, Bromsgrove & Redditch Athletic Club's Matt Hawcroft raced the Mizuno Reading Half Marathon on April 1 hoping to get under 70 minutes for 13.1 miles for the first time.
Starting with the elite runners gave him a clear run and he passed 10km on target in 33 minutes, six seconds.
The third quarter of the course was more undulating and, without a group of runners to hang on to, Hawcroft's split times drifted a little.
This was ultimately costly as he rounded the bend to see the seconds ticking over and he finished in a time of 70 minutes, eight seconds.
He still had the satisfaction of a personal best by 24 seconds and a terrific 27th place out of about 15,000 runners.
Kenyan athletes Edwin Kipyego and Bernard Chemugo finished first and second with New Zealander Paul Martelletti third.
Meanwhile, another in-form Bromsgrove & Redditch athlete - Adam Lloyd - was third out of nearly 600 finishers in the Ironbridge Half Marathon in Shropshire on the same day.
His time of 78 minutes, 45 seconds was impressive over a course that drops from Telford Town Park down to historic Coalbrookdale and crosses the River Severn on the world famous Ironbridge, before a long climb back to the finish.
Club-mate Rob Mole was 44th, having added on several miles as part of his marathon training.
Telford AC's William Joyce made the most of his home advantage to win in 75.24 ahead of another local runner, Dave Mansbridge.
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