DETERMINED Wycombe mum Samantha Amend was the quickest woman in the 21st Marlow Half Marathon and said she was spurred on by the recent death of her husband.

Nearly a thousand runners braved driving rain and a 13-mile course dubbed the 'toughest in Bucks' this morning, with Nicholas Browne, from New Zealand, the first runner over the line.

30-year-old Samantha Amend is chasing a place at next year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and was finished in one hour, 23 minutes and 17 seconds.

The Handy Cross runner, said: “That was one of the hardest races I've been in. It was quite dangerous and the wind was unbelievable – at one point I was nearly blown over.”

“I managed to pace myself well and had enough left for a sprint finish.

“Three weeks ago my husband (James Amend) died unexpectedly and that is spurring me on to win selection for the Commonwealths.

“I've become very determined and I'm not happy with second or third any more – I want to win.”

The mother of Emily, seven, and Spencer, one, broke the course record at the Abingdon Ladies Marathon last week which catapulted her up to 11th in the UK women’s marathon standings. She is seven minutes off the Commonwealth's qualification standard.

Kiwi Nicholas Browne, of Underwood Road, High Wycombe, romped home in one hour, 15 minutes and 30 seconds to take the men's title.

The 29-year-old said: “The rain was awful but when your running it doesn't make too much of a difference. This was the hardest half marathon I've run before – there were a lot of hills.”

He wants to join the top runners in the London Marathon but was disappointed to miss the qualifying time by 30 seconds.

Two Loudwater men finished second and third - last year's winner Eddie O'Gorman, 36, finishing ahead of Mikolaj Zawilinski, 29.

Reading runner Lesley Whiley, 49, finished second with Rotherham's Keely Atkinson, 26, in third.

To see the full results click on the link below.

Race director Rod Woodland said: Despite all this rain it wasn't a wash out - the weather is terrible but runners are very hardy and there was never a question of calling it off.

“People like this course because it's challenging and scenic. It may not have been too scenic today but it was certainly challenging.

The course took runners from Sir William Borlase's Grammar School playing fields to Marlow Common, Chisbridge Cross, Parmoor, Hambleden and Mill End before the tough climb up Rotten Row.

Relief came with a one-mile downhill run to Marlow Common before the home stretch at Sir William Borlase's Grammar.