Bhangal feels much better after her first place at the Rugby Half Marathon

Leamington C&AC's Natalie Bhangal stands on top of the podium at the Rugby Half Marathon.
Leamington C&AC's Natalie Bhangal stands on top of the podium at the Rugby Half Marathon.

Leamington C&AC’s Natalie Bhangal surprised herself by finishing first woman at the Rugby Half Marathon on Sunday.

On the comeback from illness, she only decided to enter at the last minute, joining more than 700 runners in Rugby town centre for the undulating half.

Spa Striders' victorious Cannock Chase team with Leamington C&AC's Saffia del Torre.

Spa Striders' victorious Cannock Chase team with Leamington C&AC's Saffia del Torre.

Starting out hard and hoping to hold on for as long as possible, she was well up the field and just behind the leading group of men after running the first two miles at sub 6:20 pace.

Eventually crossing the line in 30th place, she was delighted to have won the ladies’ race in 87min 21sec, 39 seconds clear of Wigston’s Louise Gibson.

Several Spa Striders made the short journey over to Rugby.

Tim Down, having not raced the distance for a while, was first Strider back in 1:27:06.

He was followed by clubmates Andy Pope (1:38:20), Kat Robertson (1:39:43) - going sub 1:40 for the first - Mike Cox (1:49:28) and Kevin Mckeever (1:53:52).

The race was won by Rugby athlete Ben Musgrove in 74:24.

Kenilworth Runners’ Andy Siggers improved on his Berlin Marathon time when finishing 59th at the Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday.

Siggers ran 2:28 at Berlin just a month ago but lowered that to 2:26:30 in a race won by Bekele Tefera in 2:07:08 - the slowest winning time in the last ten years.

Leamington C&AC’s Chris Hitchman, who was running his first marathon since a below-par run in New York in 2016, continued his return to form with a time of 3:14:52.

Meanwhile, it was a family affair in Venice for Spa Striders’ Teevan clan.

Pete Teevan secured a personal best in the marathon, clocking 3:14:42, while wife Emma ran the 10k (which in reality was 11k) in 71:37 with sons Matty and Dan.

Spa Striders’ ladies won the team prize at the Cannock Chase Half Marathon on Sunday.

Jo Fleming led the team home and was third lady overall in 1hr 46min 1sec.

She was followed by Susie Stannard, Kate Gadsby and Claire Murphy who finished together in 2:05:30.

Kenilworth Runners’ Jo Chick ran well to finish ninth in 1:33:22. Becky Phagura and Jodi Brandsma came home in 2:18:54.

The race was won by Thomas Adams of Harpenden Arrows in 83:59 and there were 348 finishers.

Striders’ Ellen Powell and Kathryn Houliston completed the River Thames Half Marathon in 2:19:03 and 2:34:21, respectively.

Over in China, Spa Striders’ Steve French climbed nearly 3,000ft of steps in The Great Wall Half, finishing in a respectable 2:49:15.

Kenilworth Runners’ Penny Rushbridge ran 1:58:21 at the Stroud Half Marathon, while clubmate Tom Dable ran the very muddy three-lap Hanbury Hall 10k in 69:18.