NEW Chippenham Half Marathon champion Dan Jones has added his praise to the organisers of this popular Wiltshire race, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

Jones last ran the event four years ago when he just failed to make the podium but the Team Bath AC runner made no mistake this time as he ran away from Sheffield’s Philip Cooper in the closing miles on Sunday.

“I think I was fourth or fifth four years ago so it was nice to come back and win it,” said Jones.

“It is an excellent race and very well organised. It is a very friendly, local race so it is always good to run it and I enjoyed it.

“It is also a fast course. There are a couple of little rises just like in the Bath half but having run both I would say it is just as fast as Bath and it is held over a single loop.”

To further support Jones’ claim his winning time of 72mins 52secs shaved 30 seconds off his personal best set in the Wokingham half in 2012.

“The race went really well and I felt strong and controlled the whole way,” said Jones.

Jones also led Team Bath to victory in the team event with support from Josh Taylor in sixth, veteran Simon Brace in 16th and Ian Dunning 17th with a PB of 80:53.

There was also a PB for Chippenham-based Eilidh Bell as she shaved 16 seconds off her previous best set at the start of the year with a time of 84mins 33secs to finish third woman.

“It was just a personal best so I am pleased with that,” said 27-year-old Bell.

“It is the first time I have been able to run the race as previously when I was with Chippenham Harriers the club runners had to help out with the marshalling.

“I switched to Team Bath in May so I was able to run it this year and it is a brilliant course and really well organised.

“The move is going well for me and hopefully there is a lot more to come.”

Overall winner was Marlborough-based Swindon Harrier Hannah Claydon in a personal best time of 83:27, shaving 22 seconds off her previous best set in Yeovil earlier this year, in what was her Chippenham debut.

“It was the first time I have done the race and I would definitely do it again,” said the 23 year old, whose preparations for the Chester Marathon next month were given a big lift .

“It was a nice flat course and I really enjoyed it.

“Chippenham was a really good race for me and I am delighted with the win,” .

“I wanted to see how my fitness was with the Chester Marathon just a month away (on Sunday October 8) and I am pleased with the outcome.

“I ran with another girl for the first four miles and she seemed pretty strong but then she dropped back a bit but I was aware she was never far behind.

“I didn’t go for the PB either although I thought it was a fast course. I ran it tactically and was just thinking about winning it so to get a PB was very encouraging and I think there are a couple of more minutes to be improved there as well.”

Claydon has raced sparingly this summer as she recovered from the London Marathon, an experience she described as a ‘disaster’ as illness reduced her to a painful walk to the finish line.

“I had a stomach bug and ultimately had to walk to the finish as I had no other choice,” added Claydon.

Fortunately on the evidence of her win in Sunday’s race she has recovered both physically and mentally from that traumatic day and can now look forward to Chester with some confidence.

Claydon finished 21st overall of the 1,198 finishers just one place ahead of the leading Swindon Harriers’ man, Nick McCormack, who was 26th in 1:23.48 to give him second place in the veterans’ 50-59 age category.

Fellow Harrier Michael Tune was 54th (1:27.18) while Peter Keen also made the top 100 in 4th (1:28.20), just one place ahead of Highworth Running Club’s Jason Campbell (1:28.17).