Commonwealth Games: Thousands cheer marathon run

THOUSANDS of people have lined the streets of Glasgow to cheer on athletes taking part in the Commonwealth Games marathon.

Ninety-five per cent of tickets to the marathon sold. Picture: Getty
Ninety-five per cent of tickets to the marathon sold. Picture: Getty
Ninety-five per cent of tickets to the marathon sold. Picture: Getty

Despite the damp conditions, large crowds gathered along the 26.2-mile course, which took in some of the city’s landmarks.

More than 350,000 spectators were expected to attend events at the Games this weekend with 95 per cent of available tickets sold.

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Australia’s Michael Shelley took the first athletics gold of the Commonwealth Games as the runner-up from four years ago secured the men’s marathon crown.

The event started and finished at Glasgow Green, the oldest public park in Scotland, where Shelley crossed the line to win the men’s race with a personal-best time of two hours, 11 minutes and 15 seconds.

He said: ‘’It is starting to sink in now.

‘’I dug deep and I was hoping I wouldn’t blow up like I have done in the past. I kept focused to finish off as strong as possible.’’

Kenya’s Flomena Cheyech Daniel took the women’s crown finishing in two hours, 26 minutes and 45 seconds.

Derek Hawkins was the home nation’s best performer in the men’s competition, crossing the line ninth, while fellow Scottish runner Susan Partridge finished sixth in the women’s race.

English runner Steven Way finished 10th with a personal best, just seven years on from weighing in at 16-and-a-half stone and smoking 20 cigarettes a day.

‘’Best day ever,’’ he said.

Aly Dixon led after 45 minutes in the women’s race but eventually tailed off and had to drop out with a calf problem, while her England team-mates Louise Damen and Amy Whitehead both managed a top-10 finish.

The route took runners past the Merchant City, George Square, Buchanan Street and the Clyde Arc as well as through Bellahouston Park and Pollok Park.

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Athletes undertaking the 26 miles and 385 yards route crossed the River Clyde four times as they pushed towards the finish line.

Elsewhere in shooting, Charlotte Kerwood won gold for England in the women’s double trap at the Barry Buddon Centre in Dundee, while team mate Rachel Parish took bronze.

Meanwhile Mike Hooper, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said Rhys Williams’s failed drugs test has not cast a cloud over the Glasgow 2014 Games.

Williams, the co-captain of Wales’ Commonwealth Games athletics squad, was provisionally suspended on Friday following a failed drugs test and misses the competition as a result.

The European 400m hurdles champion became the second Welsh athlete to be forced out of the Games over an anti-doping rule violation, after 800m runner Gareth Warburton was withdrawn before the competition got under way.

Mr Hooper said: ‘’I don’t believe it in any way puts a cloud over the Games.

‘’I think it sends a very strong and clear signal to anyone who would go down that path: if you take that choice, you will be caught.’’

Williams said he was ‘’utterly devastated’’ by the news of his failed test and insisted, as Warburton did, that he had never knowingly doped.

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The company behind the Mountain Fuel supplements used by both athletes has launched an investigation to determine whether the product may have had a part in their failed tests.