Almost 300 people completed a wet but enjoyable edition of the Stevenage Half Marathon.

Organised by Fairlands Valley Spartans, the race started from Ridlins and headed out on a two-lap course.

A spokesman for the club said: "We provided dozens of voluntary helpers including marshals, lead bikes, water stations and refreshments.

"Others who helped out included the Rotary Club of Stevenage, Grange Rotary Club, Stevenage Scouts and Stevenage Air Cadets, all giving their time freely to make the event a huge success."

The race also raised funds for Garden House Hospice.

Among the runners were 35 from the host club.

Gabrielle O'Brien, Harriet Smith and Derek Cornelius were all running their first half marathons.

O'Brien finished in 1:44:04 for 90th overall and 10th female while Smith managed 1:51:27. Cornelius was home in 1:46:31.

Rob Wright ran in fancy dress but still finished in 1:47:01 while Nick Gill and Ross Gallagher pushed themselves to a pair of PBs, the former taking almost three minutes off his time while the latter bettered his time by 95 seconds.

They clocked 1:31:05.

The biggest PB was by Judy King who took a whopping 23 minutes 48 seconds of her time with 2:52:44.

The event was also chosen as the county half marathon championship for veteran runners.

The Spartans had two winners, Yuko Gordon in the women aged over 65 group (1:44:59) and Jim Brown in the male 70-plus category (1:57:23).

The best-placed finisher for the men was David Harris-Cherguit in 1:17:57, placing him fifth, one position and 13 seconds ahead of team-mate Andrew Patterson.

For the women Georgie Hooper came home in 1:41:17 while Paula Dunne managed 1:57:19, also a PB.

Ware Joggers took a clean sweep of the podium positions in the men's race with Kevin Francis taking the win in 1:15:29 ahead of team-mates Kevin Sambridge and Vincent Riviere.

The east Herts club also took the top prize in the women's race, Katy Woodward winning in 1:25:19.

North Herts Road Runners had the next two finishers. Katie Harbon was second in 1:28:04 and Rachel Arnott third with 1:32:16.

The Squirrels' best male finisher was Ian Datlen in 17th with a time of 1:27:34.

Dave Skidmore of Stevenage Striders was 43rd with 1:33:43 and Chris Fry of Hitchin Running Club 63rd in 1:39:42.

Two Spartans opted against their home run for a slightly bigger event.

Jackie Downes finished the New York Marathon with a time of 5:02:02 while Chris Holland had an incident with his heart rate after an insect bite at five miles.

But after help from the medical tent he finished in 4:56:38.