CENTRAL Athletic enjoyed a very successful Stirling marathon with members coming first in both the men’s and women’s categories.

Thousands of runners took up the challenge of the Simplyhealth Great Stirling Run and Half Marathon on Sunday, April 28, as the city successfully staged the event.

In the third instalment of the Great Stirling Run, around 5,000 participants tackled a spectacular course which started and finished beneath the iconic backdrop of Stirling Castle and took in the area’s picturesque rural surroundings.

Local runner Michael Wright ensured the honours stayed with Stirling by finishing first in the marathon for the second year in a row, crossing the line in a time of 2.29.32, with Kevin Wood second in 2.30.53 and Donnie Macdonald in third clocking 2.34.21.

Fellow Central Athletic Club member, Jennifer Wetton ensured there was further home success to celebrate as the first woman home in 2.56.05, Lesley Hansen was second in 3.04.50 and Rhona Van Rensburgh took third with 3.09.55.

The half marathon was won by Matthew Sutherland in 69.59, with Lewis Millar second in 73.36 and Martin Brown in third in 73.48. First woman in the event was Fiona Matheson with 82.48, Sarah Stephen was second in 87.37 and Rachael Adamson third in 89.39.

However, the real winners on the day were the hundreds of charities and special causes which will benefit from the valiant efforts of the thousands of participants who made their way to Stirling to take on today’s gruelling task.

Speaking after the event, Stirling Council chief executive, Carol Beattie, said: “It has been another wonderful weekend of sporting action in Stirling, kicking off with the fun-filled family run on Saturday which saw hundreds of children and parents get active together.

“Less than 24 hours later we welcomed thousands of participants and visitors to our beautiful city for the marathon and half marathon, with our communities turning out in great numbers to offer tremendous support.

“A huge congratulations to the medal winners and all the runners for achieving personal targets, raising money for a range of good causes and inspiring others with their dedication.

“For Stirling, this festival of running cemented our reputation as a top-class events destination and delivered an economic and tourism boost to the area.

“Getting people active with such an entertaining event will also improve health and well-being across our communities.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our staff, partners and all the various agencies for making the event such a success, and to express gratitude to residents for their patience and understanding with the road closures.”