RUNNERS brave the winds and rain to take on the annual Winchester Half Marathon.

The race was won by London runner Tom Clark.

The 25-year-old software tester is still awaiting confirmation of his official time but is thought to gave finished in 1hr 13m.

Tom took part in the Winchester 10k earlier this year but this is his first half marathon.

He said: "The hills were quite tough but the rest of it was OK."

Tom was congratulated by the mayor of Winchester, Cllr Frank Pearson, after crossing the finishing line at the guildhall.

He was also applauded by spectators, smaller in number this year because if the rain.

The route took runners on a scenic tour of the area, including landmarks such as St Catherine’s Hill, Winchester Cathedral, the King Alfred statue, and the area’s countryside.

Runners set off at 10am from Winchester Guildhall on a 13.3-mile course, before returning back to the Guildhall.

The route headed west along Sarum Road, turning south towards Hursley, before then returning north-east to St Cross and then back to the city centre via Bar End.

Despite the heavy downpours, organisers insisted throughout the weekend that the race would go on.

However, they confirmed that the children's fun run was not taking place.

One of the teams taking part this year was from ADAM Architecture, who have so far raised more than £1,800 in aid of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, smashing their £1,000 target.

This year the race has been sponsored by Connect to Support Hampshire, a source of help and support for those who want to look after their health and wellbeing and maintain their independence for longer.

Organisers ReesLeisure say they are thrilled at the new partnership. Nikki Rees, managing director, said: “Connect to Support Hampshire getting involved with the Winchester Half Marathon is going to be a great addition and the sustenance they are providing the runners through water station sponsorship, will be really gratefully received.”

Now in its third year, organisers also sought to make the race as green as possible.

Among the changes are the use of reusable water pouches, donated by Winchester University. Plastic goody bags were also been ditched and replaced with 100 per cent recyclable paper bags.

Several of the event vehicles were also replaced with hybrid vehicles to reduce air pollution thanks to the official transport partner, Hendy.