Runners in a 35th annual half marathon event in a Buckinghamshire town described a new multi-terrain route as 'freaky' and 'muddy but scenic'.

Over a thousand runners pounded the streets of Marlow this morning (November 5) in the town's annual Half Marathon event, which this year offered competitors two alternative shorter routes alongside the traditional 13-miler.

Organised by the Marlow Striders running club alongside a host of local sponsors, this year's Half Marathon event introduced a new 10km multi-terrain Frankenstein course as an alternative to the event's namesake race and its shorter Marlow 7.

All three races took entrants through the town centre and the Chiltern Hills, leading to a supporters-packed finish line at the Marlow Sports Club on Pound Lane. 

Fred Newton, representing the Handy Cross Runners, was the first to cross the finish line in the new Frankenstein race, with a record-setting time of just under 40 minutes.

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Fred described the largely off-track course as "muddy but very scenic" with "lots of quirks to the route". When asked how it felt to be the first winner of the race, he replied: "It feels good!"

Rob Rayner, who finished the Frankenstein in 93rd place, with a race time of 58 minutes, went the extra mile by donning a costume mask and gloves in tribute to Mary Shelley's famous novel - which she completed whilst living in Marlow. 

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Rob said: "It was tough but it was fun and it was a bit freaky, frankly. I had to take the mask off at one point, it got hot!

"The gloves were good for high-fiving kids - that was the best bit. I'll be back next year!"

Craig Rose, running with the Thames Runners, finished 15th in the Frankenstein race, completing the course in just under 45 minutes.

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He described it as a "really enjoyable" experience, save for "a horrible hill, which was a nightmare" that he was able to tackle thanks to his experience running on trails through the Chilterns.

Findlay Dyer, running with the Belgrave Harriers, was the first to complete this year's Marlow 7, with a time of 38 minutes and 46 seconds and Richard Price, representing Reading AC, was the first to cross the finish line for the 13-mile Half Marathon, collecting his complimentary banana and Twix in a record-breaking 1 hour 14 minutes and 29 seconds.

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Richard was also full of praise for the event and gave a special shout-out to the Marlow Striders group, who he said "do a great job putting it on every year".

He added: "I don't know how I managed it, because it was hilly! But it was good fun. And we were lucky, it's a lovely day."