Geoffrey Koech won the men's elite race at the Cardiff Half Marathon on Sunday

The Kenyan just failed to beat the hour mark, crossing the line in 1:00:01, with Gizealaw Ayana second and fellow Ethiopian Chimdessa Gudeta third.

Beatrice Cheserek secured a Kenyan double by winning the women's race in 1:06:48 ahead of compatriot Viola Chepngeno and Ethiopian Zewditu Aderaw.

Mel Nicholls won the women's wheelchair race in 1:00:19, with Richie Powell taking the men's title in 1:08:44.

"The course is good. It feels good to win here and I pushed really hard. This is my fastest performance in Cardiff," said Koech, the pre-race favourite.

Cheserek was delighted after adding the Cardiff title to the Gothenburg Half Marathon she won last September: "This was my first time in Cardiff. The support was fantastic and helped me to work hard."

Swansea Harrier Dewi Griffiths was the best placed elite British man in eighth (1:04:15), with Cwmbran's Natasha Cockram (1:13:12) claiming seventh among the women.

"After the first 400m, I realised this is why I love this race," said Griffiths. "You get so much support as a Welshman all the way around and the crowds really kept me going when it got tough."

The 19th edition of the event in south Wales coincided with the running of the 2022 London Marathon, with an estimated 25,000 runners taking part in the Welsh capital.

Cockram had planned to compete at the London Marathon but a bout of Covid altered her plans.

"There was no way I was going to be marathon ready so soon after Covid," she said. 

"Obviously today was a lot slower than back in March but I'm happy to come out here and win the domestic part of the race. There were some fast girls up at the front but happy with that at the end of a 100-mile week.

"I love returning here - it's home and the crowds are amazing. It was all a bit of a rush, I only decided on Friday to come but I am so glad I came."

The Cardiff Half Marathon course records are held by Kenya's Leonard Langat, who ran 0:59:30 in 2019, with compatriot Edith Chelimo setting a fastest women's mark of 1:05:52 in 2017.

posted Sunday October 2nd