ALEX Carter has been hobbling on sore legs all week but not for one moment does he regret his late decision to race the Bath Half.

The 23-year-old runner from Winsley had initially suggested he wold not be fit enough to line up for one of the biggest races in the West Country after breaking his arm a couple of months ago.

That severely curtailed Carter’s racing and training schedule; his last competitive action before Sunday was a low-key parkrun in Wiltshire in late January.

But the lure of racing Bath again – he made his debut at the distance last year and clocked 75mins 6secs which he subsequently eclipsed with 68:36 in Bristol – proved irresistible for the former St Laurence School student.

“It was literally a last minute decision to run the race, as I have only been for two runs in the past month - one being the Bath half,” said Carter.

“It felt tough, but nice to get the legs moving again although I was expecting to run much slower.”

Carter started off fast and at the end of the first lap Team Bath endurance coach Paul King reckoned he was on 66/67-minutes pace, with Aaron Pritchard not far behind as he chased his first sub-70 minutes time after a strong build-up.

But for both a combination of the pace allied with damp conditions which certainly led to Pritchard cramping up saw them slow down on the second circuit.

For a while they ran together before Carter kicked ahead in the closing stages to finish top Team Bath man in a time of 71mins 46secs while Pritchard chased him home two seconds adrift.

Afterward Carter restated his support for the race despite the controversy over whether it should have gone ahead due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“I was definitely a supporter of the race going ahead, so I’m really glad that it did,” Cartersaid.

“While running around the course, although there were noticeably less people about, everyone that turned up to support were really loud, especially our Bath contingent.

“I think that many of the elite field turned out and it was understandable that some charities had concerns and therefore didn’t promote their runners to participate.

“Overall, this could be one of the last major road races that is allowed to take place in the next few months, so it was great to see the 6,000 who turned up getting the job done.”

Top Wiltshire woman was Chippenham Harriers’ Emma Hines, who clocked 86:33 for 32nd overall, just missing her PB by seven seconds. It placed her fourth in her masters over-45s age group.

At the other end of the age spectrum Marshfield’s Themis Bower was fifth U20 to finish in a time of 73:48, which smashed his PB of 76:22 which he ran in Bath last year.

Behind Bower one of the best runs of the day came from Calne Running Club’s Michael Gilbert. Coached by Denise Nott the over-40s veteran smashed his lifetime best by over six minutes with an excellent 76:53.