Bideford Blues runner hails ‘greatest victory’ as stepping stone towards Frankfurt Marathon.

Bideford AAC’s Ronnie Richmond took another huge stride in his marathon training with a win in the Simplyhealth Great Bristol Half Marathon on Sunday.

Competing in the event for the first time, Ronnie was first across the line in a time of 68:07, which equalled his PB set at the Manchester half last year.

Lloyd Biddell was second in 01:09:31, followed by Steven Tuttle in 01:09:49.

The Blues runner told the Gazette: “Today was another stepping stone in my marathon training. The plan before was to burry my body before 10 miles and run the last three miles on empty, imitating the feeling you arrive at in the latter stages of a full marathon.

“After three miles of honest running behind the leaders, the pace started to drop and although I helped to keep the pace fast, it was apparent they weren’t strong enough to take their turn at the front.

“After the six-mile mark, and feeling fresh, I decided to put in two really fast sub-five-minute miles which instantly dropped the runners behind and opened up a sizeable lead.

“I pushed hard until 10 miles but a combination of wind, tight turns, sharp raises and tiredness contributed in my slowing in the latter stages.

“It’s certainly a fantastic feat to win Bristol, the pedigree of champions from this race is amazing.

“It was a very special moment running into the city centre for the final miles in first place; the streets were lined with thousands of spectators – all shouting my name.

“There was an incredible atmosphere; it was definitely my greatest victory, maybe not my finest performance though.”

Ronnie, who competed in the Bristol 10k two years ago, is currently training for the Frankfurt Marathon on October 29.

He ran 5k in 15:00 on Wednesday week at Yeovilton and 10k in 31:06 in Manchester in March.

Ronnie, 35, added: “With seven weeks of intense mileage behind me (90-plus miles a week), I wasn’t expecting to run particularly quick.

“I’ve been doing a lot of speed work with coach Andy Glover and training partners Shaun Antell, Mark Jenkin and Andy Ingle over the last year which has vastly improved my 5/10k times.”

Before Frankfurt, Ronnie will be competing in the Southern Championships and hoping to qualify for the National Six Stage Relays with Bideford.

He’ll also begin the defence of his Westward League Cross Country title.