Hundreds of runners completed the inaugural Oswestry Half Marathon and earned themselves a hand-sculpted gorilla medal.
Runners set off from the British Ironwork Centre on Sunday morning and were guided around the town by giant gorilla and giraffe sculptures - making it one of the most unique races in the country.
The 13.1-mile race was organised by UKRunChat and hosted by Clive Knowles and his team at the Ironwork Centre.
Oswestry’s world record breaking marathon runner Amy Hughes, who ran 53 marathons in 53 consecutive days, warmed up the runners and deputy town mayor, Councillor Vince Hunt fired the cannon to start the race.
David Webb from Shrewsbury was the first to cross the line in a time of one hour, 10 minutes and 16 seconds - nine minutes ahead of the next runner, and Belle Ward was the first woman to finish in 1:28:02
The idea was born at a Hope House charity fundraising ball when Mr Knowles met UKRunChat director Joe Williams, whose son receives respite care at the hospice in Morda.
Joe, who organises the Shrewsbury Half Marathon, said the Oswestry race is “completely unique”.
“The effort that has been put into the Oswestry Half Marathon has been unprecedented and is the reason why it’s such a great event,” he said.
“The location is unique, the mile markers are unique and the medals are unique so that is why it is so attractive to runners.
“It’s been a brilliant day and hopefully there will be many more.”
All 875 finishers received a goody bag, T-shirt and an eye-catching medal to remember the day.
The bespoke gorilla medals, designed by British sculptor Joe Bailey, are made of metal and sprayed gold. A special spoon gorilla medal presented on a gold chain was also awarded to the first placed male and female in a range of age categories.
Cllr Hunt, who handed out the medals said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be here as deputy mayor but glad I’m not running it!
“I know people have travelled from all over the country to take part so that’s got to be a good thing for Oswestry. Hopefully that means people will have stayed in the local hotels and used the town’s restaurants and shops.
“But more importantly, it’s a great day to raise money for charity and especially Hope House.”
The children’s charity entered a team of 45 in the race and hope to have raised over £5,000.
Mr Knowles said it was an “honour” to host the event, which saw competitors travel from as far as Germany to take part, and there are already plans for the second Oswestry Half Marathon next year.
“I just thought Oswestry needed a half marathon,” he added. “I saw Shrewsbury doing it and thought it could really put the town on the map.
“It completely ‘sold-out’ eight weeks before the event and people are already pre-registering for next year.”
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